Institutional Analysis

Institutional analysis is a part of the social sciences that studies how institutions—that is, the structures and mechanisms of social order and cooperation governing the behaviour of two or more individuals—behave and function according to both empirical rules (informal rules-in-use and norms) and also theoretical rules (formal rules and law). In higher education, institutional analysis generally begins with questions of where power lies and where decisions are made. Differences remain between national, institutional, faculty, and department levels of authority and between the academic, manager, and student/consumer degrees of influence within the workings of any individual institution. There may also be significant differences between policies and practice as policies become ‘recontextualised’ as they hit different levels of authority and decision-making.

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