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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2019

Reforms, Organizational Change and Performance in Higher Education

A Comparative Account from the Nordic Countries

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Takes account of reform efforts and its effects across Nordic higher education

  • Combines hard (quantitative) data with more nuanced accounts by the key actors involved with processes of change and adaptation within universities

  • Contributes to both the testing and further development of theory, bringing together critical insights from public policy and administration, organizational studies and higher education studies

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (9 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xx
  2. Setting the Stage

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
    2. Does It Really Matter? Assessing the Performance Effects of Changes in Leadership and Management Structures in Nordic Higher Education

      • Kirsi Pulkkinen, Timo Aarrevaara, Laila Nordstrand Berg, Lars Geschwind, Hanne Foss Hansen, Helge Hernes et al.
      Pages 3-36Open Access
    3. Performance in Higher Education Institutions and Its Variations in Nordic Policy

      • Jussi Kivistö, Elias Pekkola, Laila Nordstrand Berg, Hanne Foss Hansen, Lars Geschwind, Anu Lyytinen
      Pages 37-67Open Access
    4. Nordic Higher Education in Flux: System Evolution and Reform Trajectories

      • Rómulo Pinheiro, Timo Aarrevaara, Laila Nordstrand Berg, Tatiana Fumasoli, Lars Geschwind, Hanne Foss Hansen et al.
      Pages 69-108Open Access
  3. Cross Cutting Themes

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 109-109
    2. National Performance-Based Research Funding Systems: Constructing Local Perceptions of Research?

      • Johan Söderlind, Laila Nordstrand Berg, Jonas Krog Lind, Kirsi Pulkkinen
      Pages 111-144Open Access
    3. External Research Funding and Authority Relations

      • Jonas Krog Lind, Helge Hernes, Kirsi Pulkkinen, Johan Söderlind
      Pages 145-180Open Access
    4. The Changing Roles of Academic Leaders: Decision-Making, Power, and Performance

      • Lars Geschwind, Timo Aarrevaara, Laila Nordstrand Berg, Jonas Krog Lind
      Pages 181-210Open Access
    5. Strategy as Dialogue and Engagement

      • Timo Aarrevaara, Rómulo Pinheiro, Johan Söderlind
      Pages 211-234Open Access
    6. Evaluation Practices and Impact: Overload?

      • Hanne Foss Hansen, Timo Aarrevaara, Lars Geschwind, Bjørn Stensaker
      Pages 235-266Open Access
  4. Taking Stock and Moving Forward

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 267-267
    2. Governing Performance in the Nordic Universities: Where Are We Heading and What Have We Learned?

      • Lars Geschwind, Hanne Foss Hansen, Rómulo Pinheiro, Kirsi Pulkkinen
      Pages 269-299Open Access
  5. Back Matter

    Pages 301-326

About this book

This open access book investigates the effects of changes in leadership and managerial structures of Nordic universities resulting from reforms in the last decade. It builds on a rich, comparative dataset across a multiplicity of system-wide (macro) and organisational (meso and micro) dimensions, namely: reform or policy initiatives; drivers, aims, instruments and actors; structural changes within universities; strategic and performance management; the rise of accountability regimes; incentive and evaluative systems; and perceived changes/effects by the key actors involved, at various levels. The volume provides critical insights to the larger phenomenon of change and adaptation within the public sector. Its findings and implications are of relevance to social science researchers, policy makers, managers/administrators, and external stakeholders.


  • adaptation
  • university governance
  • strategic actorhood
  • mixed methods
  • external funding
  • authority relations
  • research freedom
  • budget-maximization logic
  • Nordic higher education
  • policy initiatives
  • reform trajectories
  • domestic landscape
  • historical overview
  • performance-based research funding
  • performance measures
  • Nordic universities
  • leadership
  • management
  • managerialism
  • open access

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Political Science & Management, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway

    Rómulo Pinheiro

  • School of Industrial Engineering and Management, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

    Lars Geschwind

  • Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

    Hanne Foss Hansen

  • Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland

    Kirsi Pulkkinen

About the editors

Rómulo Pinheiro is Professor of Public Policy and Administration at the Department of Political Science and Management at the University of Agder, Norway.

Hanne Foss Hansen is Professor in Public Organisation and Administration at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. 

Lars Geschwind is Associate Professor in Engineering Education Policy and Management at the Department of Learning, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.

Kirsi Pulkkinen is a researcher at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Lapland, Finland, and Advisor of co-creation at the Research Services of University of Helsinki, Finland.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)