Making Universities Matter (MUM) and VINNOVA presents: seminar in the international series on “Historically aware research and innovation policy”.
On the 18th of October, Terttu Luukkonen (Senior Fellow at ETLA: The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy) and Prof Mats Benner (Lund University and KTH) will give a seminar on Universities as Strategic Actors, based on their ongoing research.
Tid: To 2018-10-18 kl 14.30
Plats: Nobel Room at Vinova, Mäster Samuelsgatan 56, Stockholm
ABSTRACT: Universities as Strategic Actors – Terttu Luukkonen and Mats Benner
The seminar will discuss recent developments in the governance of universities that posit them as organisations setting long-term goals and defining action to achieve these goals. Important drivers for these developments include the greatly increasing costs of research, but, especially, expectations that the work of universities should be more closely linked with economic needs. The seminar will draw attention to the current social contract between universities and society, that emphasising societal usefulness and the third task. While this social contract dates back to recent decades, it is to be noted that it is not novel in a historical perspective, though the institutional manifestations differ.
The seminar will discuss the meanings of the concept of strategy as well as various contexts of its application. Topics that the seminar will cover will include the specific organisational features which universities have and which can restrict or enable particular varieties of strategic action? Another aspect of relevance in this respect concerns the tasks of universities, their nature and spatial dimensions from local to international and the implications these have for strategic action. The seminar will pay further attention to the consequences of defining strategic action as deliberate vs. emergent and as bottom-up vs. top-down. Evaluation of quality of performance provides an important area for strategic goal-setting for universities, but the ways in which this is done can have fundamental consequences for the research and teaching environment.
The advance of New Public Management (NPM) reforms in universities in recent decades has greatly promoted expectations of universities as strategic actors. The seminar will discuss the hybrid nature of the Swedish university system whereby the government expects universities to act in a strategic and goal-oriented manner but these, nevertheless, have a more traditional committee-based and bottom-up governance, though with some variety. The question of the extent to which Swedish universities are and the way in which they can be strategic actors under the circumstances will be raised.