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2017, Cilt 7, Sayý 2, Sayfa(lar) 392-402
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DOI: 10.5961/jhes.2017.216
Exploring Higher Education Governance: Analytical Models and Heuristic Frameworks
Ýstanbul Þehir University, Center for Higher Education Studies, Ýstanbul, Turkey
Keywords: Higher education governance, Governance shift in higher education, Analytical model, Heuristic framework
Governance in higher education, both at institutional and systemic levels, has experienced substantial changes within recent decades because of a range of world-historical processes such as massification, growth, globalization, marketization, public sector reforms, and the emergence of knowledge economy and society. These developments have made governance arrangements and decision-making processes in higher education more complex and multidimensional more than ever and forced scholars to build new analytical and heuristic tools and strategies to grasp the intricacy and diversity of higher education governance dynamics. This article provides a systematic discussion of how and through which tools prominent scholars of higher education have analyzed governance in this sector by examining certain heuristic frameworks and analytical models. Additionally, the article shows how social scientific analysis of governance in higher education has proceeded in a cumulative way with certain revisions and syntheses rather than radical conceptual and theoretical ruptures from Burton R. Clark’s seminal work to the present, revealing conceptual and empirical junctures between them.
  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Introduction
    Higher education (henceforth HE) systems have been experiencing profound transformations across the world since the second half of the 20th century. The emergence of the knowledge society and knowledge-based economy (Delanty, 2001), ongoing expansion and massification trends arising from demographic pressures, increasing internationalization and globalization processes, and the introduction of market forces and market logic into the HE sector (Berman, 2012) are just a few of the dynamics confronting HE systems. In many Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, and particularly in Continental Europe, New Public Management (NPM) reforms1 have considerably undermined the traditional modes of HE governance as well as the organizational structures of HE institutions (Ferlie, Musselin, & Andresani, 2008).

    The governance of HE systems and the institutional governance of universities are two interrelated domains which have been affected by these changes and subjected to an array of novel arrangements. This has forced scholars of HE to rethink and develop new understandings to comprehend the diversity and complexity of governance dynamics in this particular field. This article will provide a systematic discussion of HE governance by examining the major analytical models and heuristic frameworks developed by social and political scientists.

    In order to maintain conceptual homogeneity in a highly heterogeneous research area, it would be useful to define the concept of governance in an operational sense. By governance, I here mean “the process and structure” (Becher & Kogan, 1992) through which decisions are made and implemented as a consequence of the interplay between relevant actors. This definition is applicable to both the institutional and systemic levels in HE. The systemic level refers to the relationship between the state and individual HE institutions, while the institutional level indicates the pattern of governance within universities (Dobbins & Knill, 2014).

    In what follows, I will initially present a brief discussion of Burton R. Clark’s (1983) classical study on HE systems in which he developed a typology of systemic coordination in HE. Subsequent scholars in the field have extensively drawn from Clark’s work in their attempt to provide more fine-grained typologies and models of governance in HE, taking into account such current processes as NPM reforms, the effects of the Bologna and Lisbon declarations, ideological shifts toward the market, and the emergence of global and transnational levels in HE governance (Amaral, Jones, & Karseth 2002; Paradeise et al., 2009; Huisman 2009). Therefore, this article will also offer a brief discussion on how these changes have been explained and conceptualized in the post-Clark term. To do this, the following sections will discuss other major analytical models of HE governance.

    It should be emphasized that the paper will offer a considerably simplified discussion of these models rather than an exhaustive inquiry. This is because, its first and foremost aim is to depict the state of the art research in a relatively dynamic area. Besides, it aspires to stimulate some discussion and provide some information for further empirical research. These models can be deployed and applied by HE researchers in Turkey to analyze cross-national change in HE governance. It also may increase HE leaders’ awareness as to how the complex nature of HE governance arrangements can be grasped in an analytical way.

    Burton Clark’s Triangle of Coordination
    Burton Clark’s The Higher Education System (1983) is a tour de force in the history of analysis of national HE systems and in their cross-country comparison. Clark’s underlying motivation in writing the book was to provide a systematic explanation of how HE is organized and governed, going beyond the prevalent frameworks of his time. In one of his earlier articles in which he developed a classification of pathways of academic coordination, Clark (1979) had already pointed out how the existing literature was full of studies that reduced the analysis of coordination in HE to a simplified academic coordination based on their formal plan and hierarchy. According to him (Clark, 1979), a more sophisticated account should focus on the question of how diverse types of coordination—bureaucratic, professional, political, and market-based—interact with each other, by taking into consideration the plurality of coordination mechanisms and the respective contributions of each one.

    Clark’s triangle of coordination (1983) is one of the earliest and seminal endeavors to categorize governance in HE at a systemic level. Clark identifies three dominant mechanisms of systemic coordination: the state authority (with its bureaucratic and political components), the market, and the academic oligarchy.2 Thus, he composes his well-known triangle of coordination as follows:

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    Figure 1: Clark’s triangle of coordination. Adapted from Clark (1983: 143).

    It should be emphasized that Clark elaborates these three modes of coordination as ideal types, in the Weberian sense of the term, which together construct a space for comparing national HE systems. This means that a national system does not need to be strictly identified with the preponderance of only one of these forms of coordination. To be sure, the state, academic professionals, and market forces represent the key actors, or “main interest groups” as Clark (1983) says, in the steering of an HE system. However, there are very few HE systems that are coordinated and governed only by one of these crucial agents with little or no intervention from the other ones. Instead, the coordination of a national HE system, at bottom, takes its shape as a result of a particular combination of power competition and negotiation between different interest groups within HE.3

    Clark’s tripartite division finds its most typical historical expression in the examples of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (state-control model), the United States of America (marketoriented model), and Italy (academic self-rule model). The coordination of the traditional German HE system, generally called Humboldtian, is depicted by Clark (1983) as a specific mixture of professional self-management by an academic oligarchy and the political and bureaucratic regulation of the state. Indeed, as Schimank argues (2005), governance of the German HE system is still characterized by a historical consensus between state control and funding on one hand, and constitutional guarantees of academic freedoms (Lehrfreiheit and Lernfreiheit) on the other.

    Clark’s model assumes that the coordination of any given HE system at any given point can be positioned within the triangle based on the power configuration between the academic community, market, and the state. In most cases, it serves as a useful analytical tool to synchronically compare diverse national HE systems with one another. Nevertheless, this model becomes less functional when it comes to analyzing transformation and evolution within certain HE systems in a given period of time from a comparative-historical perspective. In this sense, triangle of coordination offers a static typology of authority relations and governance arrangements in HE, rather than a dynamic explanation of how, for instance, an HE system evolves from a state-centered system into a primarily marketoriented one, or vice versa, within a given period.

    Clark’s ideal-typical model has sparked fresh interest towards governance and coordination in HE among scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds. Many of them have either developed new typologies inspired by Clark’s typology or revised it, taking into account of recent challenges. The following sections will offer a brief overview of studies influenced by Clark’s seminal work as well as those who criticize it by revealing its limitations.

    Frans van Vught’s State-Control and State-Supervising Models
    Drawing upon Clark’s model, van Vught (1993) defines the term pattern of governance in HE as a “dynamic combination of the actions of, and interactions between several categories of actors”. Then, he (1993) specifies four elements that are crucial to the investigation of processes and outcomes of governance: the degree of influence of the market, the steering strategies of the government, the organized influence of the academic oligarchy, and the management processes in HE institutions. However, the first category—market influence—is intentionally overlooked by van Vught for HE, according to him, does not operate according to pure market logic. In contradistinction to Clark, who located market coordination as an important axis in HE governance, van Vught (1993) argues that there are only “quasi-market”4 structures and “market-like” behaviors in HE, where the state invariably has a certain role.

    In order to examine the role of government in systemic HE governance, van Vught (1993, 1995) makes an important distinction between the state-control model and state-supervising model as two primary governmental steering strategies. By doing so, he suggests a two-dimensional space of governance defined by the role of the state, as distinct from Clark’s threedimensional one. In the state-control model, the central governmental agencies attempt to regulate and control almost all features of HE, from student access conditions to the appointment of academic staff. In the state-supervising model, in contrast, the government exerts little influence on the dynamics of HE apart from ensuring quality and accountability, authorizing individual institutions to make decision and regulation in many aspects.

    The former model is associated with the continental European tradition conceiving HE as a “homogenous enterprise” (van Vught, 1993), while the latter refers to the Anglo-American experience of treating HE as a diversified and multidimensional initiative.5 In the first model, the weakest part of the whole governance process is the university management and leadership. This is due to the fact that governance arrangements are principally made by the reciprocal authority relations between government officials/bureaucrats and academic professionals/ scientists. The second model is rather characterized by weak state intervention, with governance outcomes instead shaped by the relationship between strong internal administrators and leaders (deans and presidents) and a powerful academic community.

    To sum up, as Braun (1999) argues, van Vught, in spite of his call for a multi-level analysis to grasp the pattern of governance in HE, ultimately reduces HE governance to the role that the government plays in steering the system. The state could either follow a centralist strategy, as is still seen in continental Europe, or opt for a relatively weak role, as is in the Anglo-American world. Van Vught’s model, notwithstanding its limitations, was influential among HE researchers during the 1990s. At the end of the millennium, new frameworks sensitive to the recent challenges that HE had encountered were offered by students of HE governance. In what follows, I will center upon Dietmar Braun’s heuristic framework of governance models in the HE sector.

    Dietmar Braun’s Heuristic Framework: The New Managerialism as a Distinct Mode of Governance
    Dietmar Braun’s contribution to the study of governance in HE is substantially built upon the works of Burton Clark and Frans van Vught. He critically revises their earlier work to arrive at a new synthesis considering current changes in governmental strategies in OECD countries. Braun’s point of departure stems from the argument that there has been a considerable change in the belief system of governments (Braun & Merrien, 1999), and that this in turn has triggered changes to the mode of governance in HE and science systems. For that reason, in order to discuss the heuristic framework offered by Braun, it is crucial to grasp the shift in governmental philosophies.

    Braun and Merrien (1999) lay out two ideal-type belief systems that have affected the governance of HE:

    • The belief system conceiving universities as cultural institutions contributing, by and large, to the social cohesion and economic development of modern societies. In most European and in some of American states, this belief system has led governmental action for a long time.

    • The belief system regarding universities, in a utilitarian way, as public service institutions serving the economic, social, and political goals of countries. Components of this belief system have influenced the relations between governments and HE institutions in most American states and have started to transform governmental strategies in many European and OECD countries.

    In this frame, the first belief system represents the Humboldtian university idea, which sees the university as an institutionally autonomous place in which a community of scholars operates in an environment free of political or bureaucratic constraint in pursuit of truth and knowledge for the good of society. In fact, as Gerard Delanty subtly points out (2001), the university needs the state in order to assure its institutional autonomy. In return, it provides the state with a moral basis, once provided by the Church. The role of the government is thus based on protecting and supporting the academic community to carry out its twofold mission: the pursuit of truth and the fulfillment of political and cultural responsibilities to the nation.

    This belief system was the focus of ever-increasing criticism in the 1980s, not only by individual governments, but also by such supra-national and international institutions and organizations as the European Council, European Union, OECD, and World Bank. As a result, a more utilitarian belief system—the second system outlined above—has emerged in Europe, which hinges on a supervisory role for the state in steering the system instead of an interventionist role, and on the promotion of market-like relations in universities and the public sector (Braun & Merrien, 1999). This new philosophy has been generally associated with a new philosophy of management called new managerialism or new public management.

    Braun’s (1999) real contribution lies at his attempt to integrate the NPM as a new governance model that is essentially different from previous governance models in HE. According to him (1999), the insensitivity of Clark’s triangle to the NPM is understandable given the fact that it was written in the 1980s. Clark (1998) later added a fourth category, what he called “organization”, which refers to the self-steering capacity of universities through leaders, to his famous triangle. Although van Vught’s “supervisory state model” is analogous to the new managerialism, he does not see this as a shift in what Braun (1999) calls belief system, but rather as pre-existing model practiced by Anglo-American countries.

    In order to construct his heuristic framework, Braun (1999)—in addition to his distinction between utilitarian and non-utilitarian belief systems—also utilizes Robert Berdahl’s distinction between substantive autonomy and procedural autonomy. The former refers to the power of universities to determine their own goals and programs, while the latter indicates the power of universities to determine the means by which their goals and programs are pursued (Berdahl, 1990). In other words, substantive autonomy is related to the what of academe, whereas procedural autonomy pertains to the how. Thus, he arrives at a cube of governance in HE:

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    Figure 2: Braun’s cube of governance. Adapted from Braun (1999: 7).

    According to Braun (1999), new managerialism, as distinct from the bureaucratic-oligarchic and market models, is characterized by three points: (1) the strengthening of the intermediate administrative level, (2) priority-setting, and (3) client-orientation. The first implies more powerful deans and presidents and a corresponding weakening of the academic insticommunity/ oligarchy at the institutional level of governance. The priority-setting primarily indicates the earmarking of funds and the assessment of goal achievement and quality of university outputs by governments. The final category stands for the rise of demand-driven science in universities that become more the interface of the “triple helix” (Etzkowitz & Leydesdorff, 2000) of university-industry-government relations.

    In brief, Braun’s framework could be read as an endeavor to integrate the influence of NPM reforms into the analysis of governance in HE. In the first decade of the 21st century, NPM reforms spread over most OECD countries and considerably eroded traditional governance of HE with a dominant role of the state. In line with this, scholars of HE have developed more rigorous models to represent changes to which HE systems have been exposed. The next section will address one of these models in particular: the “governance-equalizer” model.

    The Governance Equalizer Model
    The governance equalizer model is an analytical tool devised by de Boer, Enders and Schimank (2007; 2008) for the analysis of governance shifts in HE. The authors pay special attention to how the rise of NPM has changed the mode of governance in the public sector, including HE, since 1980s. They go so far as argue that the concept of governance itself emerged as an analytical category simultaneously with NPM (de Boer, Enders, & Schimank, 2007), reflecting the skepticism among decision makers about the efficiency and possibility of hierarchically steering complex societal systems. Indeed, in many OECD countries, trust in the merits of centralist state authority in governing diverse policy fields has been eroded and replaced by a new credence in the virtues of complex processes of societal coordination carried out by means of a network of different of actors.

    Considering this transformation in the philosophy of governing, the authors argue that governance in HE should be rethought for the following reasons (de Boer, Enders, & Schimank 2008):

    • The first and foremost reason is that of economic recession and the consequent decline in public expenditure. Most HE reforms, therefore, are financially driven and are aimed at economic sustainability.

    • Processes such as internationalization, globalization, and Europeanization in HE have triggered new coordination problems due to the appearance of powerful supra-national actors on the scene.

    • The disappointing achievements of governments have caused disillusion and distrust of state-centered steering of HE in many countries.

    • The ideological tendency towards the market has questioned the traditional university, which is now encouraged to sell its goods and services in various markets.

    • The rise and spread of NPM as a new organizational approach for the public sector have made universities into more business-like organizations that borrow instruments from the private sector.

    In their effort to rethink governance in HE in the light of these developments, the scholars (de Boer, Enders, & Schimank, 2007; 2008) distinguish five dimensions for the analysis of governance in HE as a societal subsector:

    1) State regulation refers to the traditional concept of topdown authority vested in the state, such as regulation by directives and prescriptions.
    2) Stakeholder guidance concerns activities which lead universities through advice or goal setting. The government can be considered as a crucial stakeholder in public university systems.
    3) Academic self-governance means collegial decision-making and self-steering within universities by professional/academic communities.
    4) Managerial self-governance indicates hierarchies within universities and the role of university leaders in decisionmaking and regulation processes.
    5) Competition for material and symbolic resources—personnel, prestige, and funds—between and within universities is the final dimension of HE governance.

    De Boer, Enders, and Schimank (2007; 2008) assume that the governance of an HE system is composed of a specific mixture of these five dimensions at any given time. They model this configuration by using the analogy of an equalizer, an electronic device allowing amplification and attenuation of selected frequencies in an audio spectrum. They analyze shifts in HE governance in England, Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands from the 1980s to the present by using the governance equalizer model and illustrate their findings through the instrument of an equalizer, as seen in figure 3.6

    Click Here to Zoom
    Figure 3: HE governance shifts in four countries (de Boer, Enders & Schimank 2007: 149).

    The governance equalizer is derived from existing typologies in HE studies, notably Clark’s triangle of coordination and Braun’s cube of governance. In this model, state regulation and stakeholder guidance represents two modes of governmental influence. To put it another way, de Boer, Enders, and Schimank (2007; 2008) divide Clark’s notion of “state authority” into two parts: direct regulation by the state and external guidance by public agents. In a similar vein, the concept of academic selfgovernance can be seen as a revised form of Clark’s “academic oligarchy”. Finally, competition as a distinct mechanism of governance corresponds to market-oriented coordination in Clark’s terminology. Managerial self-governance, on the other hand, is the fifth dimension adapted by Clark’s (1998) later study on entrepreneurial universities in which he laid stress on the increasing domination of managerial leadership in institutional governance of universities. This dimension, to a large extent, is dedicated to the effect of NPM in HE governance and in this sense it comes closest to Braun (1999) and Braun and Merrien’s (1999) emphasis on new managerialism.

    The governance equalizer is a particularly useful analytical tool for examining various dimensions of governance and seeing their potential combinations. I would like to argue that the governance equalizer is a more flexible tool than Clark’s (1983) model, as it does not see the different dimensions of governance as mutually exclusive from each other. In Clark’s model, one situates an HE system within at least one of dominant forms of coordination. When it comes to understanding the possible combinations between various forces of coordination, however, this model does not have so much to offer. The governance equalizer, on the other hand, does not conceive changes in governance dimension as a “zero sum game” (de Boer, Enders, & Schimank, 2008), and allows for contingent compositions in which an HE system can be directed towards two seemingly opposite poles, such as state regulation and competition.7

    Governance arrangements in HE continue to change and combine in different ways. Yet, whatever shape they take, the government finds a way of exerting its influence. The next section will be dedicated to a discussion of a recent typology of systemic governance in HE which pays special attention of the role of government in steering the HE system.

    Capano’s Typology of Systemic Governance in HE Policy
    Giliberto Capano’s contribution to the governance debate in the HE sector deserves mention, since it suggests a revised perspective concerning the understanding and analysis of governance in the HE-policy sector. Capano (2011) differs from a substantial part of the governance literature, which argues that a new way of governing societal relations, called “new governance”, has replaced the old mode of governance. While he accepts that “government”—a hierarchical framework of governance—has lost its central role in policy making and has given way to a more decentralized and deregulated form of governance, he rejects the idea that government and governance are two related phases of a process of governing. Instead, he argues (Capano 2011: 1625) that they are two intrinsically separate categories:

    “Governance refers to the possible ways in which the policy actors combine to solve collective problems and thus to the ways in which the policy-making process is steered. Government, on the other hand, is one of the possible actors in systemic governance, and its role may vary considerable, depending on the context.”

    By “bringing the government back in” (Capano, Howlett, & Ramesh, 2015) to governance studies, Capano casts doubt on the so-called decline of the state and the rise of “governance without government” (Rhodes 1996) postulations. For that reason, grasping this difference is crucial to any examination of systemic governance in HE in which government is the principal actor. This means that different configurations of HE governance vary considerably with regard to the role played by the government. Accordingly, different systemic governance modes in HE could be classified according to variations in the strategies pursued by governments to influence governance arrangements in this particular policy sector. Thus, Capano (2011) constructs his typology by dichotomizing the role of government in setting goals to be attained and the instruments to be deployed in the HE sector (see figure 4).”

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    Figure 4: Types of systemic governance in HE. Adapted from Capano (2011: 5).

    In this framework, the hierarchical and procedural modes denote two classical forms of governance in which the state pursues certain command and control strategies (Capano 2011). In hierarchical governance, government, as a hegemonic actor, directly coordinates all features of policy making, including determining both goals and means. Consequently, there is almost no room for substantial or procedural autonomy, to use Berdahl’s (1990) concepts. Procedural governance differs from the hierarchical one in the sense that agents are free to determine their own objectives. Yet, they are obliged to abide by procedural rules issued and enforced by public authorities while pursuing these self-determined goals.

    In Capano’s (2011) typology, the self-governance and steeringat- a-distance modes, on the other hand, designate two models in which government is indirectly influential. In the selfgovernance mode, HE institutions are left at liberty to specify both what they want to do and how to do it in the absence of direct governmental intervention. In the steering-at-a-distance mode, government is committed to achieving certain collective targets; however, it leaves room for institutions to designate the instruments through which to achieve these aims. Government strives to affect the organizational behavior of universities through a range of indirect means, such as soft regulations, performance assessments, and financial incentives, to encourage their operations to comply with governmental targets.

    To sum up, Capano’s approach differs from the earlier frameworks discussed above due to its emphasis on governments’ various strategies to influence HE policies at a systemic level. His typology also explicitly challenges the acclaimed dichotomy between governance and government and shows how governments deliberatively continue to take part in HE governance. They choose either to directly intervene in the HE sector or to steer from a distance by making room for other policy actors in the field. Nevertheless, in either case, they indeed do govern. Even in the self-governance mode, which is at work in Anglo American countries, governments, be they federal or national, and are sine qua nons of governance arrangements as a sort of backroom stakeholder involved in decision-making and policyimplementation processes in the HE field.

    Capano’s framework offers researchers an opportunity to empirically test these propositions with cross-country evaluations of HE systems with different social and political backgrounds. The next and the last section will introduce a similar framework designed by Dobbins and Knill (2014) for crosscountry comparisons of HE governance.

    Dobbins and Knill’s Analytical Framework for Comparative Analysis of HE Governance
    Dobbins and Knill’s (2014) work is the most recent study propounding an analytical model which one can apply to make a comparative analysis of governance models in HE. It is also one of the most integrated frameworks in terms of systematizing the previous work in the field to put forward a top-notch analytical model. They also develop a specific set of empirical indicators to embrace the complication and diversification of governance issues in HE.

    Their point of departure is Clark’s seminal model in which he distinguishes three levels of HE governance: the state, the market, and academia. They also draw upon Olsen (2007), who himself relies on Clark (1983), to depict historical versions of university organization and governance in Europe. Following these authors, Dobbins and Knill (2014) define three overarching models: “the market-oriented model”, “the state-centered model”, and “the academic self-rule model”. However, the scholars are aware that making such a tripartite distinction per se does not bring innovation to the analysis of HE governance. To carve out an encompassing and multi-pronged understanding of contemporary HE governance arrangements, they consider patterns of control, coordination, and the allocation of autonomy between the state, the academic profession, and university management (Dobbins, Knill, & Vögtle 2011). Thus, Dobbins and Knill (2014) integrate three variables into their framework: (1) the organizational structure of universities, including personnel and funding issues, (2) the state’s regulatory approach, and (3) relations between universities, external stakeholders, and society.8

    In addition, they also attach particular importance to the allocation of autonomy within an HE system and between different actors to develop certain indicators to measure governance. Their central strategy is to split the concept of autonomy into several parts. Dobbins & Knill (2014) first restructure Berdahl’s (1990) aforementioned notions of procedural autonomy and substantial autonomy. They extend the scope of procedural autonomy to include what they call “general HE arrangements”

    (pertaining to state-university-society relations, decision-making structures, quality-control arrangements, and the management approach), as well as two important sub-dimensions conceptualized as personnel autonomy and financial governance. By “personnel autonomy”, the scholars mean the authority of HE institutions to freely set conditions for staff as well as the status and role of presidents or rectors. “Financial governance” simply refers to the procurement, allocation, and management of financial resources. Finally, “substantial autonomy” addresses the capacity of universities to determine their own goals and programs without state intervention.

    Table 1 illustrates how “general HE arrangements”, i.e., the main components of procedural autonomy, are seen in three ideal-typical model of HE governance. Still, one should consider that all HE systems, in effect, incorporate certain components of these three models, which means that it is highly improbable to observe these types in their quintessential forms in the social world. Bearing this fact in mind, one can operationalize these empirical indicators to observe and contrast the governance of certain HE systems and find out how they converge on one of these models.

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    Table 1: General HE Arrangements. Dobbins & Knill (2014, p. 43)

    Dobbins & Knill’s scheme for general arrangements in HE is clearly built upon previous studies in the field. For that reason, their proposed framework can be safely evaluated as a synthesized and updated version of previous scholarship. Like all other frameworks and typologies of HE governance, theirs, to a certain extent, suffers from somewhat static delineations of the complex relations within and around HE systems. And, as the scholars themselves accept (Dobbins, Knill, & Vögtle, 2011), this model is somewhat inadequate when it comes to identifying forces of inertia and change. However, it is extremely useful for designing and conducting large N and small N cross-country comparative studies to test how operable these empirical indicators are and to reveal similarities and differences between different countries with distinct socio-political traditions and philosophies of HE. Furthermore, their analytical framework, as distinct from many other models, provides tools to analyze various sub-sectors of governance and autonomy, e.g., financial governance, personnel autonomy, and substantial autonomy.9 Overall, their typology promises to inform further research and to spur researchers to develop more sophisticated and exhaustive models.

  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Conclusion
    The primary objective of this article has been to provide a brief overview of the state of the art in the study of governance in HE. To this end, it focused on six analytically fine-tuned and empirical-driven heuristic frameworks that offer models for the analysis of governance in the field of HE. While the article make no pretentions to have included all existing studies in the literature, it has endeavored to underline the connections that link the different perspectives and to display how social-scientific analysis of HE governance has developed chronologically, from the time of Burton Clark to the present.

    Over the last three decades, theoretical conceptualization as well as empirical analysis of HE governance has showed a marked improvement. A series of studies have built upon the classical insights of Burton Clark, who can be safely located as the paradigm-setting figure of this particular field of study under the broad roof of HE studies. Clark’s seminal work has nurtured numerous empirical case studies along and comparative research and has inspired scholars from different academic and disciplinary backgrounds to revise his model.

    Indeed, the analysis of HE governance has been a multi-disciplinary field of investigation from the very beginning. This is not surprising, considering the complex nature of governance arrangements in HE at both the institutional and systemic levels. Burton Clark, for instance, was himself an organizational sociologist of HE. Uwe Schimank is also a sociologist whose work combines organizational and social theory with HE and science studies from a systems-theoretical perspective. Frans van Vught had been a scholar of urban and regional planning before beginning to focus on administration and governance in HE. Harry de Boer and Jürgen Enders are management and governance scholars focusing on the HE sector. Dietmar Braun, Giliberto Capano, Christoph Knill, and Michael Dobbins are all political scientists and public policy/administration scholars who study HE governance from comparative perspective.

    It is gratifying to observe an ever-increasing interest in the study of HE in general and HE governance in particular from the perspective of diverse social, political, and educational sciences. More than thirty years ago, Clark, at the outset of his seminal book, complained that social scientists showed little interest in HE and that their interests were fragile and fragmented, reflecting their disciplinary tendencies and biases. He began his work by encouraging:

    “Organizational theorists to gaze awhile upon the odd ways of universities and then return to the business firm; political scientists to assemble some essays on government and higher education and then go back to traditional political institutions; economists to measure some inputs and outputs and speculate on benefits and costs and then find other topics for their tools; [and] sociologists to absorb education in the study of stratification and forget about the rest” (Clark 1983: 1).

    Today, scholars with an interest in HE have reason to be more optimistic than Clark. The field of HE studies has flourished and solidified as a multi-disciplinary research area within the last thirty years, in parallel with the world-wide expansion of HE itself. At least, as this article argues, HE governance has itself become a multi-disciplinary field of study. Still, it can be said that there is a need for more dialogue and cross-fertilization between diverse disciplines in order to grasp the complexities of HE.

    Before concluding, it may be useful to note one of the deficiencies of the HE governance literature that future research should address: the inclusion of regional, international, and global governance levels into the analytical frameworks. Although the analytical frameworks discussed in this article are useful for analyzing the national structures and dynamics of HE governance, they are less sensitive to effects of supra-national governance templates. One exception to this is Dobbins and Knill (2014), whose work pays special attention to the tension between national traditions and international pressures stemming from the Bologna Process. Indeed, the Bologna process becomes a relevant regional level of HE governance. Moreover, international organizations such as the OECD, the EU, UNESCO, and the World Bank are becoming increasingly involved in governing HE globally, promulgating authoritative blueprints, making soft regulations, and monitoring performance of national systems, among other things (King, 2009). Finally, as Krücken (2011) points out, competition appears as a distinct mode of governance. Global ranking and evaluation systems sharpen the competition not only between universities, but also between regions, countries, and continents (Kauppi & Erkkila, 2014). This compels national policy actors to redesign their HE governance structures. Further research in HE governance must work to develop more fine-tuned models that are capable of addressing these supra-national levels and their impact on national systems.

  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • References

    1) Amaral, A., Jones, G. A., & Karseth, B. (2002). Governing higher education: National perspectives on institutional governance. Dordrecht: Springer.

    2) Andresani, G., & Ferlie, E. (2006). Studying governance within the British public sector and without: theoretical and methodological issues. Public Management Review, 8(3), 415- 431.

    3) Becher, T., & Kogan, M. (1992). Process and structure in higher education. London: Routledge.

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  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Conclusion
  • References
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