Paper published: University boards between representation and outcome orientation

The German management journal BFUP – Betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung und Praxis published our qualitative study on university governance. The paper details several mediating tactics of university leaders trying to balance competing and contradictory claims of different stakeholders. Here’s the abstract in English: A central aim of reform aspirations in the higher education sector is to strengthen universities’ capacity to act strategically. BFuP - Betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung und PraxisUniversities receive more institutional autonomy, but have to operationalize and quantify their strategies in target agreements with their federal states. For that reason, many Landeshochschulgesetze (LHG) provide increased control power for the top management of universities. At the same time participative rights of decision for the different academic committees are an integral part of the LHG. Thus, different and contradictory leadership requirements coexist. These contradictory leadership requirements impair top managements’ ability to act strategically. The aim of this article is, firstly, to analyze these contradictions and, secondly, to work out which room for maneuver exists for the governance in universities and how it can be used. We use qualitative Interviews with university top management members to illustrate which tactics they can use to mediate between the contradictory leadership requirements in order to implement strategies.

Access the study here: Woiwode, H., Frost, J. & Hattke, F. (2017): Hochschulleitungen zwischen Repräsentation und Ergebnisorientierung – Handlungs(un)fähigkeiten und Vermittlungstaktiken. In: BFuP – Betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung und Praxis 69(6), 633-652.