Learning to Compete in European Universities

Learning to Compete in European Universities

From Social Institution to Knowledge Business

Edited by Maureen McKelvey and Magnus Holmén

This book addresses the critical issue of how and why European universities are changing and learning to compete. Anglo-Saxon universities particularly in the US, the UK and Australia have long been subject to, and responded to, market-based competition in higher education. The authors argue that Continental and Nordic universities and higher education institutes are now facing similar pressures that are leading to a structural transformation of the university sector.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Maureen McKelvey and Magnus Holmén

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, innovation and technology, knowledge management

Extract

Maureen McKelvey and Magnus Holmén 1. INTRODUCTION This book, Learning to Compete in European Universities: From Social Institution to Knowledge Business will challenge the reader by asking how and why European universities are changing and learning to compete.1 Anglo-Saxon universities, particularly in USA, UK and Australia, have been subject to, and responded to market-based competition in higher education for a long time. We will argue that Continental and Nordic universities and higher education institutes (HEI) are now facing similar pressures that are leading to structural transformation of the university sector. Thus, one of the major societal institutions in Europe is undergoing transformation, and becoming a knowledge business. Regardless of whether one believes that this increasing competition has positive or negative effects, the transformation will affect academics and students, as well as the ability of firms and nations to compete in the global knowledge society. This book provides some steps towards explaining what is going on; towards analysing how individuals, groups and organizations are responding; and towards discussing the implications for society and universities. This book is designed to raise debates and stimulate new research agendas about this transformation of the university sector and about the underlying need to learn and develop new types of organizational forms and behaviour, as well as strategic action. Our research shows that European universities are moving from a national institution providing a public good, to a business delivering services to students and various other stakeholders.2 In this conceptualization, universities are delivering knowledge-based...