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This article begins with a critical assessment of the impacts of rankings on the European and national landscapes of higher education and analyses their unintended side effects on organisational behaviour of universities. It makes an attempt to frame rankings as a form of transnational policy coordination in which they function as the dominant policy script which basically no university can escape any longer. It is also argued that rankings themselves and their outcomes have become indicators—or better: proxies—for the economic competitiveness of nations.Thus they become loaded with a symbolic value on the basis of which government decisions are taken (e.g. with respect to funding). This symbolic value is then charged with meaning which is no longer related to the actual reality of universities and what they are about. A truly postmodern shift.
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Global University Rankings — Impacts and Unintended Side Effects
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Kehm, B. M. (2014), Global University Rankings — Impacts and Unintended Side Effects. European Journal of Education, 49: 102–112. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd