Chapter 8: Conclusion: Global Regulatory Futures
In the previous chapters we have explored the idea of the university as an organizational actor that is self-regarding and responsible. Increasingly its autonomy but also its importance to governments is leading to heightened and more formal processes of accountability. Although universities predominantly are rooted in national systems of funding, regulation and innovation, increasingly these processes, and the organization itself, are influenced and shaped by global standards and models. These models are the outcome of the actions of both state and non-state actors – sometimes they are located more in organizational fields – and frequently they operate for effectiveness through comparative peer pressures and horizontal monitoring by organizations. In some cases, private regulation, as found with university league tables, provides orderliness to a sector and helps to constitute markets, yet also debilitating aspects of national public policy. However, processes of dissemination of global standards, particularly those issuing from inter-governmental or supranational bodies and which require explicit national incorporation for their implementation, include a number of levels of diffusion that potentially constitute threats of an attenuation of commitment. Chains of implementation, and their critical levels and nodes, require careful analysis to distinguish between surface acceptance and onthe-ground ritualism and to consider where such divergences are found (as in the case of the Bologna Process, for example). Regulatory governance is increasingly a sophisticated and subtle matter for practitioners and is increasing its interest for academics and other analysts. Not only do the developing transnational networks of regulators – governmental and non-governmental – recognize that effective policy...
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