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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg February 8, 2022

Lost in hybridity? About dilemmas endangering meaningful tourism education at German universities of applied sciences

Volker Rundshagen and Werner Gronau


The contribution at hand sheds light on dramatically mounting tensions that academic tourism education in Germany is facing within the context of applied science universities. Drawing on the concept of organizational hybridity, we distil two dilemmas resulting from respectively incongruent expectation sets. Firstly, a spatial hybridity dilemma results from opposing missions of regional development and embeddedness versus internationalization prescriptions and efforts. Secondly, there is an ideational hybridity dilemma resulting from imperatives to serve employment markets versus academic purposes of serving social and scientific ideals. Based on a tourism program case from Northern Germany we highlight how a mélange of diverse, partly obscure and increasingly conflicting missions as well as largely inflated and for the most part incongruent stakeholder expectations threaten to tear the institution apart and to lead tourism education onto pathways where it could lose its bearings. We summarize our three major concerns of academics drifting off the course of integrity out of desperation resulting from overwhelming pressures, impoverished learning experience for our student constituencies and impoverishment of research in an era where we need meaningful research more than ever in tourism and beyond. We thus contribute to the debate about the future of tourism education in academia.


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Published Online: 2022-02-08
Published in Print: 2022-01-27

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