, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 493-510
Date: 18 Nov 2012

Transforming Universities: National Conditions of Their Varied Organisational Actorhood

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Abstract

Despite major changes in the governance of universities overtly intended to transform them into authoritatively integrated collectivities, the extent of their organisational actorhood remains quite limited and varied between OECD countries. This is because of inherent limitations to the managerial direction and control of research and teaching activities in public science systems as well as considerable variations in how governance changes are being implemented in different kinds of states. Four ideal types of university can be distinguished in terms of their strategic and operational autonomy and capability: Hollow, State-contracted, State-chartered and Private-portfolio. These become established under different proximate and background conditions such that relatively high levels of organisational actorhood are unlikely to be achieved in many OECD countries without major shifts in state structures and policies.

An earlier version of this paper was presented to the 27th EGOS Colloquium held in Gothenburg, 7–9 July, 2011. I am grateful for comments and suggestions received on that occasion as well those provided by the two referees for Minerva.