Conflicting Rationalities: Mergers and Consolidations in Swedish Higher Education Policy

  • Mats BennerEmail author
  • Lars Geschwind
Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY, volume 46)


This chapter analyses the preconditions and forms of consolidation in the Swedish higher education system over the last decade. After a rapid development and expansion of the system between 1994 and 2004, there have been several initiatives to consolidate and streamline the sector. There have been few direct interventions intended to trigger reorganisations, mergers and acquisitions; instead, the political system has primarily incentivised universities to seek new organisational models and arrangements. This means that the reorganisation of the higher education system has been marked by experimentation with several different models and initiatives, to determine which models have the best fit with the parties involved. With the advent of a new government in 2014, the issue of mergers has been discarded and universities are again primarily seeking to restore and ascertain their independence. Hence, we analyse mergers in Swedish higher education as a game between rational actors aiming to clarify the gains and potential losses of mergers – rather than a top-down process of forced reorganisations as in many other countries.


High Education High Education Institution High Education System Funding Stream High Education Governance 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economics and ManagementLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Department of Learning, School of Education and Communication in Engineering ScienceKTH Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden

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