An International Comparative Perspective on Higher Education Institutions’ Governance and Management—Portugal, Finland, and Brazil

  • Sara Margarida Alpendre DiogoEmail author
  • Milka Alves Correia Barbosa
  • Maria Teresa Geraldo Carvalho
Part of the Intercultural Studies in Education book series (ISE)


Reforms in higher education (HE) in the last decades have been influenced by global and international trends associated with two parallel processes: questioning of the nation-state and the gradual decomposition of the welfare state (Carvalho and Santiago in Professionalism, Managerialism and Reform in Higher Education and the Health Services: The European Welfare State and the Rise of the Knowledge Society. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015; Kwiek in Higher Education in Europe 26:27–38, 2001). These processes intersect with the influence of neo-liberal ideas, strongly diffused by international organizations (Amaral and Neave in International Organizations and Higher Education Policy: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally. Routledge, London, pp. 82–98, 2009; Ball in Policy Futures in Education 14:1046–1059, 2016). According to Stephan Ball (Policy Futures in Education 14:1046–1059, 2016), neo-liberal influences in HE can be summarized by three interrelated and interdependent technologies: market, management, and performance. These technologies were translated in the emergence of new management and governance models within higher education institutions (HEIs) in such a way that institutional governance became an international issue (Reed and Meek in Governing Higher Education: National Perspectives on Institutional Governance. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. xv–xxxi, 2002). It has been acknowledged that changes in governance and management structures in HE all over the world include transformations in the Humboldtian principles of organization along with changes in the collegial model of decision-making and a redefinition of power relations, where external stakeholders and new professionals assume a relevant role within academia (Capano in Public Administration 89:1622–1642, 2011; Reed and Meek in Governing Higher Education: National Perspectives on Institutional Governance. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp. xv–xxxi, 2002; Welch in Higher Education in Southeast Asia: Blurring Borders, Changing Balance. Taylor & Francis, 2011), with implications on academics’ work (Blackmore et al. in Re-positioning University Governance and Academic Work. Sense Publishers, 2010; Carvalho and Santiago in Higher Education Policy 23:397–411, 2010; Marginson in Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 22:23–35, 2000). Nevertheless, few comparative international perspectives have been developed, especially when considering the need to include countries with distinct historical processes of nation-state creation, different welfare state models and diverse levels of economic development, and social and cultural characteristics. There is, indeed, a study gap on New Public Management (NPM) constructs and their application “with little understanding of several important cultural dimensions” (Stromquist in Compare 30:261–264, 2000). This chapter compares the perceived changes in HEI management and its impact on academics in three countries: Brazil, Finland, and Portugal. Data analysis relies on a qualitative approach, empirically based on 70 interviews conducted in the 3 countries to top and middle academic managers, following the same interviewing guidelines. Despite significant differences in systems’ organization and funding, cultures’ governance and management, and professionals’ and students’ profiles, there are more similar views on changes in governance and management and its impact on academics than expected. In these countries, academics expressed similar views on the increased influence of a management culture within their institutions and a loss of professional autonomy.


Portugal Brazil Finland Higher Education Institutions Governance Management International organizations New Public Management Globalization 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Margarida Alpendre Diogo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Milka Alves Correia Barbosa
    • 3
  • Maria Teresa Geraldo Carvalho
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Social, Political and Territorial SciencesUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.CIPES - Research Center on Higher Education PoliciesMatosinhosPortugal
  3. 3.Faculty of Economics, Accounting and ManagementFederal University of AlagoasMaceióBrazil

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