Changing Perspectives about Organization and Governance in Higher Education - e-lecture by Peter Maassen [March, 14]

Welcome to the 6th Peking-Tampere Lecture series on Organisation and Management in Higher Education!

Theme: Changing Perspectives about Organization and Governance in Higher Education

Speaker: Peter Maassen, professor in Higher education studies at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Oslo (UiO), Norway

Time: March, 14 at 13.00-14.30 (Helsinki time)/ 19.00-20.30 (Beijing time)

ppt slides



How to make sense of governance and organization in higher education? In the first part of this lecture various theoretical perspectives about university organization will be introduced with the aim to discuss how the understanding of universities as organizations has developed over the last 50-60 years. In this development central questions that have been addressed include:  Are universities organizations? If so, what kind of organizations? How specific and incomparable to other organizations are universities?

In the second part of the lecture we will reflect upon the transformation of university governance and organization. We will argue that for understanding this transformation the features of a more hierarchical university organization and governance models are of relevance, and the challenges they pose for horizontal and vertical coordination of academic and administrative activities and processes within universities.

Recommended readings:

Astley, G. & van de Ven, A. (1983). Central Perspectives and Debates in Organization Theory. Administrative Science Quarterly, 28(2), 245-273.

Brunsson, N., & Sahlin-Andersson, K. (2000). Constructing organizations: The example of the Public Sector Reform. Organization Studies, 21(4), 721-746.

Maassen, P. (2022). Systemic and Institutional Governance in Higher Education: Visions, Trends and New Perspectives. In: M. Jacob, M.-L. Kearney & V.L. Meek (Eds.), Higher Education and Research in the Post-Knowledge Society. Scenarios for a Future Worlds (pp. 25-48). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Maassen, P. & Stensaker, B. (2019). From organised anarchy to de‐coupled bureaucracy: The transformation of university organization. Higher Education Quarterly, 73(4), 456-468.

Speaker bio

photo credit: University of Oslo

Peter Maassen is professor in higher education studies at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Oslo (UiO), Norway, and extraordinary professor at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. His main research interests are in the area of the governance of higher education and science, and the relationships between higher education and society. He has participated in many national and international research projects, expert committees and panels in higher education. He has been a member of the Institutional Board of University College Oslo (now Oslo Metropolitan University), and is currently member of the executive board of the Barratt Due Music Academy. Maasen was in 2022 member of the expert committee on university accreditation established by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and research KD. In 2022-23, he led a research project on the state of play of academic freedom in the EU for the European Parliament, and a study on Competition and Collaboration in higher education funded by the German Körber Foundation. He has produced over 250 international publications.


Dr. Yuzhuo Cai is Senior Lecturer and Adjunct Professor at the Higher Education Group (HEG), Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University, Finland. He has been with the HEG for 20 years and was the Acting Professor of the unit from August 2013 to July 2014. He is the Director of Sino-Finnish Education Research Centre, a network organisation involving over 20 Chinese and Finnish universities, and the Deputy Director of Research Centre on Transnationalism and Transformation (TRANSIT), an interdisciplinary research centre spanning three faculties at Tampere University. He is also in the coordination group of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Research Tampere Network and the coordination group of Think Tank for China, SGroup Universities in Europe. He is Editor-in-Chief of Triple Helix and  Co-Editor of Journal of Studies in International Education. His main interests are in higher education research and innovation studies, focusing on interactions between higher education and society also on the international dimension. He has published more than 130 academic publications in these fields, including those in prestigious journals, such as Higher Education, Studies in Higher Education, International Journal of Management Reviews, Technovation, Minerva, Science and Public Policy, European Planning Studies and Scientometrics. ResearchGate

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Cover Photo by Christoffer Engström on Unsplash