The Market Oriented University

The Market Oriented University

Transforming Higher Education

John A. Davis and Mark A. Farrell

The next decade will be transformative for the higher education sector. Government funding is decreasing. Through their marketing activities universities have created the ‘student consumer.’ The student consumer is prepared to shop around, compare prices and value, and once purchased expects a return on their investment. Disruptive innovations are challenging traditional forms of learning and in many cases are viewed as better alternatives to traditional learning in the classroom. Competition from private educational providers is increasing. Their cost base is lower, and their customer focus is superior. In short, universities around the world are facing a perfect storm. While experts don’t expect the higher education sector to collapse under these challenges, they do believe that for some institutions the future looks bleak. If universities are to avoid closures or mergers, they will need to adopt a market-oriented approach.

Chapter 6: Developing and maintaining a market oriented university

John A. Davis and Mark A. Farrell

Subjects: business and management, management education, management and universities, marketing, education, management and universities, management education


Given the faster pace of change in the higher education sector, we focus on relevant organizational change frameworks and methods university leaders can use in their efforts to become market-oriented. A key challenge most organisations confront, and is certainly one that is particularly pronounced in higher education institutions, is resistance to change. We offer recommendations for how university planners can both plan and begin to execute a shift toward becoming market oriented. Overcoming organizational and leadership biases, plus less-productive routines, can accelerate the market-oriented transformation, and developing a customer-oriented mindset among the university’s many employees is an essential part of any change initiative.

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