New public management in higher education, e-lecture by Harry de Boer - [February, 28]

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

Theme: New public management in higher education


Speaker: Prof. Harry de Boer  a public management expert and senior researcher at the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) at the University of Twente (UT)

Time: February, 28 at 13.00-14.30 (Helsinki time)/ 19.00-20.30 (Beijing time)

lecture recording

ppt slides


New Public Management (NPM) is an approach that seeks to build an administration of public sectors by implementing flexibility, transparency, minimum government, de-bureaucratization, decentralization, the market orientation of public services, and privatization. Governance is considered as a process by which the legitimized power is being exercised for the utilization of resources of a public sector, in our case higher education.

With the embrace of NPM, governance has undergone a transformation. The delineation of tasks and powers, and thus the interactions between the key players, has changed. Much research has focused on the changed relationship between government and institutions. The government started steering at a distance and institutions were given more autonomy and had to account for their actions in a different way. With government steering at a distance (deregulation, decentralisation and privatisation), a different role was also given to agencies. One example is (new) accreditation and QA agencies. With this development, the governance interplay has changed significantly. It is one of the consequences of the introduction of NPM that partly determines the current governance structures and outcomes of higher education.  There is however not much research on the introduction and changed role of agencies in higher education: it is the forgotten variable in the governance equation. In my contribution, I will discuss this changing role of agencies and their significance for governance in higher education and make some suggestions for a research agenda on this underexposed but very important development.

Recommended reading:

Jaccard, P., & Soguel, N. C. (Eds.). (2008). Governance and Performance of Education Systems. Springer International Publishing.

Enders, J., de Boer, H., & Weyer, E. (2013). Regulatory autonomy and performance: The reform of higher education re-visited. Higher Education, 66(4), 479-493. doi: 10.1007/s10734-013-9662-4


Harry de Boer (1962) is a public management expert and senior researcher at the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) at the University of Twente (UT). He specialises in governance and funding issues, public management, policy analysis and thematic policy-oriented studies, mainly in the field of higher education. He has carried out various policy-oriented studies for national ministries of education, national and international commissions, research and advisory councils, individual universities, the OECD and the European Commission. He publishes regularly in (inter)national scientific journals and books. Besides research, he lectures on the above subjects at the University of Twente, supervises bachelor, master and PhD students and has for many years provided leadership courses for the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) and the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA).

Recent research projects include the use of performance contracts in higher education systems, a national high-level policy review on higher education in the Netherlands, a study on the future of transnational cooperation in European higher education  an evaluation of internal allocation models of Flemish universities, a national in-depth analysis of the funding system of Dutch higher education and an exploration of the knowledge infrastructure for educational innovation in higher education. For more information, see:


Dr. Po Yang is an associate professor with tenure, chair of Department of Economics of Education and Administration, at the Graduate School of Education, Peking University, and a research fellow at China Institute of Education Finance Research, Peking University. She serves as the vice president of China Association of Education Finance Research, and has been working as consultant for the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Ford Foundation. Her main teaching and research areas of economics of education, education finance, and vocational and technical education reform evaluation. She has working experiences in leading research universities in the U.S.A., and the Netherlands. She has published in peer reviewed SSCI journals and received research grants from China’s National Science Foundation and Ministry of Education.