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CHES Seminars London , 21 st November, 2006. Changes in the governance of European universities. José-Ginés Mora Centre for the Study of Higher Education Management TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF VALENCIA. Index. Main traits of EHE The idea of governance

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ches seminars london 21 st november 2006
CHES SeminarsLondon, 21st November, 2006

Changes in the governance of European universities

José-Ginés Mora

Centre for the Study of Higher Education Management


  • Main traits of EHE
  • The idea of governance
  • The relevance of improving governance: EC recommendations
  • Trends of change
  • Some empirical results
the european traditional models
The European traditional models
  • New context at the beginning of the XIX century
    • The liberal national-state: need of civil servants
    • The industrial age: need of qualified professionals
  • Three different answers
    • The Napoleonic model
      • Universities as “factories of professionals”
      • Universities are part of the State
      • State controlling academic and managerial matters
      • Professors are civil servants, members of national bodies
    • The Humboldtian model
      • Universities as “factories of science”
      • State-dependent, public funding
      • State controlling only managerial matters
      • Professors are civil servants, but “independent”
    • The British model
      • Universities focused on individual development
      • Autonomous, but with public funding
the dominant situation of ehe by the end of the last century
The dominant situation of EHE(by the end of the last century)
  • Institutions, mostly public
    • Portugal 25% in private, Italy 10%,....Greece 0%
  • Staff, mostly civil servants
  • Funding, mostly public :
    • UK and Spain, more private funds
  • Collegial bodies running universities
  • Leaders elected internally
  • National diplomas in some countries
  • One cycle, long duration of study programs in most countries
  • Scarce diversity in goals and objectives of universities
the concept of governance
The concept of governance

University governance is related to collective control towards common institutional goals.

It could be defined as the way as public and private actors seek to solve university organisational problems.

Governance raises questions about who decides when on what.

Governance is also related to the institutional capacity to change and to change properly and timely to institutional needs.

the five dimensions of governance
The five dimensions of governance
  • State regulation. This dimension refers to regulation by directives; the government prescribes in detail behaviours under particular circumstances.
  • Stakeholder guidance. In public higher education systems the government may delegate certain powers to guide to other actors, such as intermediary bodies or representatives of industry in university boards.
  • Academic self-governance concerns the role of professional communities within higher education systems. This mechanism is institutionalised in collegial decision-making within universities.
  • Managerial self-governance concerns hierarchies within higher education institutions as organisations. Here the role of institutional leadership in internal goal setting, regulation, and decision-making is at stake.
  • Competition for resources within and between universities takes place mostly not on “real” markets but on “quasi-markets” where performance evaluations by peers substitute customers.
governance profiles
Governance profiles

State regulation

TUV?- - - - - -

Ideal?- - - - -

Stakeholder guidance

Academic self-governance

Managerial self-governance

Competition for resources


The coordinator triangle (B. Clark)







Academic oligarchy

the share of power
The share of power






European model

the lisbon strategy
The Lisbon Strategy
  • European Council, Lisbon 2000:
    • Making Europe by 2010 “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”
  • European Council, Barcelona 2002:
    • European education should become a “world quality reference”
    • EU will invest in R&D 3% of GDP, by 2010

Mobilising the brainpower of Europe: enabling universities to make their full contribution to the Lisbon StrategyCommunication of the EC (10th April 2005)

  • Less regulation:
    • “The over-regulation of university life hinders modernisation and efficiency”.
  • More autonomy:
    • “In an open, competitive and moving environment, autonomy is a pre-condition for universities to be able to respond to society’s changing needs and to take full account for those responses”.
  • Better leadership:
    • “Empowering universities effectively to take and implement decisions by way of a leadership team with sufficient authority and management capacity, enough time in office and ample European/international experience”.
modernising higher education in europe november 2005 council resolution
Modernising Higher Education in EuropeNovember 2005 Council Resolution
  • Curricular reform
    • Profound curricular renovation
    • Implementation of the Bologna reforms
    • Establishment of a European Qualification Framework
  • Governance reform
    • Universities need more autonomy
    • System and institutional management need modernisation
    • Internal and external QA and a European QA system.
  • Funding Reform
    • Higher and more efficient funding
    • Targeted investment in quality, innovation and reforms
    • To convince stakeholders of the value of HE
Delivering on the modernisation agendafor universities: education, research and innovationCommunication of the EC (10th May 2006)
  • “Without real autonomy and accountability, universities will be neither really responsive nor innovative. In return for being freed from dysfunctional over-regulation and micro-management, universities need to recognise the importance of accountability and more professional management”.
  • “Managing a university is as complex and socially as important as managing an enterprise with thousands of staff and an annual turnover in the hundreds of millions of euros. Member States should build up and reward management and leadership capacities within universities”.
  • “Adapt their legal frameworks at national and regional levels to allow universities to develop new models for governing their research activities, including a higher degree of autonomy and new ways of ensuring internal and external accountability”.
Delivering on the modernisation agenda…Objective 2nd:Create real autonomy and accountability for universities
  • Member States should draw up a framework of rules and policy objectives for the university sector as a whole
  • Within this context universities should have the freedom and the responsibility: to set their own missions, priorities and programmes in research education and innovation; to decide on their own organisation and on the bodies necessary for their internal management and the representation of society’s interests
  • Member States should build up and reward management and leadership capacities within universities
current trends i state autonomy
Current trends I: State-Autonomy
  • More autonomy. Enhancing institutional autonomy has been the overarching governance trend in European higher education.
  • Less state regulation. There is a switch from traditionally legalistic steering mechanisms of top-down implementation to a more economically driven steering system
    • Accountability and concepts like New Public Management or network governance (‘state supervision’, ‘the evaluative state’) are gradually replacing the traditional focus on state control.
    • Former state responsibilities have not only been transferred to the institutions but to other intermediate organizations such as research councils or quality agencies.
  • State oversight.Steering from a distance by:
    • Performance-based funding for public funds to universities
    • Quality assurance procedures to guarantee citizens the quality of what universities are offering.
current trends ii internal governance
Current trends II: Internal governance
  • University leadership. As top-down regulation by governments decreases, the university leadership is strengthened.
  • New bodies has taken place at the apex of higher education institutions. Supervisory boards or ‘boards of trustees’ have been installed, frequently composed of ‘lay members’
  • Collegial self-governance is a loser of all the changes across Europe and institutional leaders are in many cases being appointed instead of elected.
  • Borrowing instruments from the private sectorinstitutions try to enhance their possibilities in order to cope with an increasingly complex environment.
current trends iii external influence
Current trends III: External influence
  • More market influence. Greater reliance on market signals brings a shift in decision making power from educational institutions to the consumer, whether student, business, or the general public.
  • More co-operation with society. University cooperation with each other and with the private sector is enhanced and supported by governments in all countries.
  • The greater stakeholder scrutiny is forcing European universities to become more innovative and entrepreneurial.
an empirical study autonomy
An empirical study: Autonomy
  • Levels:
    • Private > UK > SE > (FI &PL & ES) >(MO&RU)
  • No question about the relationship between level of autonomy and capacity of universities to be entrepreneurial.
  • But, relations are not linear.
    • Some universities seem to be able to take “shortcuts” and to behave as relatively entrepreneurial universities in spite the legal restrictions (Lapland and T. of Valencia).
    • Some universities enjoying a great level of autonomy have a “restricted” entrepreneurialism (Lund, LSHTM, Plymouth).
an empirical study governance
An empirical study: Governance
  • Governance models:
    • The collegial model: ES, FI, MO, PL, RU.
    • The shared model: UK, SE & U. of Pereslavl
    • The leadership model: UCH and WSHIG
  • Entrepreneurial universities have a shared or leadership model of governance. This is a necessary but not sufficient condition.
  • Some universities with a collegial model have entrepreneurial traits, but this model is an inhibitor to entrepreneurialism.
an empirical study governance entrepreneurialism
An empirical study: Governance-Entrepreneurialism?
  • Full autonomy is a conditions sine qua non for entrepreneurialism, but it is not enough for being entrepreneurial strict sense.
  • Shared governance is a very important condition for entrepreneurialism, but it is not enough.
  • Universities with no full autonomy and with collegial models of governance are not (and probably cannot be) fully entrepreneurial…
but there are escapes
…but there are escapes
  • Entrepreneurialism through satellites. Universities with a traditional core, without a favourable legal framework for entrepreneurialism but with strong potentials (due to its specific approach, its research capacity, and so on) can adopt the solution of not changing the institutional core and creating satellites around the university which can adopt an entrepreneurial behaviour.
  • Entrepreneurialism through individuals. Another alternative that non-entrepreneurial universities adopt when they have the potential of some individual is developing ·individual entrepreneurialism.