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Patterns of University Governance: Insights Based on an Analysis of Doctoral Education’s Management Reform

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Reforming Higher Education

Part of the book series: Higher Education Dynamics ((HEDY,volume 41))

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For a long time, studies on public management have underlined the central role of new public management (NPM) and neglected other new forms of public management. Kickert (Public management and administrative reform in Western Europe. Edward Elgar Publications, Cheltenham/Lyme, 1997) developed an alternative, the network governance (NG) narrative. With reference to a number of central NPM and NG elements, this chapter analyzes the management reform of Swiss and Norwegian doctoral education in the last 10 years by taking into account four variables, namely type of national political system (federal vs. centralized), disciplinary profile (specialist vs. generalist), size of higher education institutions (HEIs) and the type of scientific discipline (soft vs. hard and pure vs. applied). Thus, it examines the extent to which elements of one or other of the public management narratives appear according to the four variables. On the basis of this analysis, the following thesis composed of two ideal types can be posited: on the one hand, elements of NPM have the best chance of application in the case of hard and applied sciences situated in small, specialist HEIs within centralized countries. On the other hand, it is the NG narrative which is likely to apply to soft pure sciences situated in larger, generalist HEIs of federal countries.

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  1. 1.

    Only the male gender is used in the interests of brevity.

  2. 2.

    Varying denominations appear in higher education studies and political documents. Besides the mentioned terms, “research school”— especially in Nordic countries—or “graduate school” are also in use. The term “graduate school” may be particularly misleading because in its country of origin, the USA, it includes both the master and doctoral levels, whereas in many European HEIs it is limited to the doctoral level.

  3. 3.

    According to Ferlie et al. (2009), new public management and network governance are not purely analytical and theoretical frameworks aiming at comprehension (in the Weberian sense), yet they both mix technical, political and normative elements. They are therefore called narratives.

  4. 4.

    The idea of the “Governance Equalizer” consists in the consideration that a change in one governance dimension does not necessarily directly influence a change in another governance dimension. For instance, less state regulation does not necessarily imply more market orientation. Hence, rather than suggesting a governance model which puts different dimensions in direct relation, de Boer et al. (2008) suggest an equalizer containing several dimensions, each of which can increase or decrease more or less independently of the others.


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Correspondence to Lukas Baschung .

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Baschung, L. (2014). Patterns of University Governance: Insights Based on an Analysis of Doctoral Education’s Management Reform. In: Musselin, C., Teixeira, P. (eds) Reforming Higher Education. Higher Education Dynamics, vol 41. Springer, Dordrecht.

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