This article aims to describe how academics in England, Denmark and Portugal understand the Bologna Process, their attitudes towards the initiative, and how understandings and attitudes determine action. It shows how contextually and culturally determined academic understandings, expectations, preferences, priorities and constraints are key influences in the process of educational change envisaged by the Bologna Process. Second, inspired by the implementation staircase metaphor which illustrates different actors' perceptions conditioned by their location on the path of the policy, the article presents three different examples of interplay between national authorities responsible for policy-making in the wake of the Bologna Process and the institutional field responsible for policy implementation. It reveals variations from country to country with regard to bottom-up and top-down initiatives, both at the level of actors' expectations and of actual measures to implement Bologna policy. This article comes in response to the frailty of an empirical base for the understanding of Bologna from an institutional and academic perspective.
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