A Renewed University Governance: Changes and Perspectives from the Italian Context

A Renewed University Governance: Changes and Perspectives from the Italian Context

Maria Vincenza Ciasullo (Department of Study and Business Research, University of Salerno, Fisciano, Italy) and Giulia Monetta (Department of Study and Business Research, University of Salerno, Fisciano, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/ijisss.2013100102
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Abstract

During recent years radical changes have affected universities in most Western European countries, implying new pressures and demands on higher education systems and deeply influencing the context in which universities operate. The paper attempts to investigate governance issues and the need for new strategic paths emerging as a result of changed scenarios. Specifically, the greater number of stakeholders involved in academic activities requires universities to take into account a variety of social, economic and cultural factors when making strategic decisions. Adjustments in board composition through appointing non-academic members are signals of such trends. Moving from this consideration and relying on data on the governance structures of Italian universities, the paper discusses challenges for academic institutions in terms of change in their strategic management and governance structures as well as the likely directions such change is taking.
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Research Purpose And Structure Of The Paper

The paper starts from the premise that the recent changes in the European Higher Education system have driven universities to consider the expectations of their stakeholders (competition and market orientation perspectives). Nowadays, it is widely acknowledged that universities need a new model of governance in order to preserve the integrity of their mission as well as to make their strategic decision-making processes more effective, timely and sensitive to strategic stakeholder input.

This paper investigates governance issues and the need for strategic change emerging as a result of the new context. By virtue of the large number of interest groups involved in a university’s activity and the importance of strategic input coming from the external environment rather than from the organization’s internal setting, a shift towards extensive adjustments in university governance structures and management has been noted.

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