Conceptual Definition of Two Key Terms: Governance and Higher Education

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Business book series (BRIEFSBUSINESS)


In etymological terms, the origin of the word “governance” comes from the ancient Greek verb kybernein (κυβερνεĩν, infinitive) or kybernao (κυβερνάω, first person) that meant steering, guiding, or maneuvering a ship or a land-based vehicle, and was used the first time metaphorically by Plato for depicting the governing of men or people (people would be here the modern application). This etymological component of “steering” also is being reflected in the prefix of “cyber” (for example, in words such as “cybernetics”). In the modern English language, “governance” is related to “government” and to “govern”. Cybernetics deals with feedback and regulatory systems. If this close link between government and governance be continued conceptually, then a definition of governance may be: governance describes how a government governs. One may also say, alternatively: governance addresses how government governs based on feedback.


Europe Prefix 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty for Interdisciplinary StudiesAlpen-Adria-University KlagenfurtViennaAustria
  2. 2.Unit for Quality EnhancementUniversity of Applied Arts ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.School of BusinessGeorge Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations