How Global Competition is Changing Universities: Three Theoretical Perspectives by Igor Chirikov


This essay provides an outline of three theoretical perspectives to study the impact of global competition on organizational change at universities. The perspective of neoliberal economics portrays global competition as competition of universities in the global higher education market. Universities transform towards greater efficiency with the goal of having a larger market share. The political economy perspective suggests that global competition in higher education is an emergent property of competitive relations among nation states. Universities change in the direction of increased prestige and status. Their transformation is a complex outcome of the interaction among global, national and local forces. The new institutionalist approach claims that global competition is a consequence of universities turning into organizational actors. Universities transform towards greater isomorphism with each other and with other organizational actors. The paper calls for more empirical international comparative studies in order to understand strengths and limitations of each perspective. It suggests a hypothesis that the explanatory power of each perspective is contingent upon the state steering model in a particular country. 

Publication date: 
June 1, 2016
Publication type: 
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
HOW GLOBAL COMPETITION IS CHANGING UNIVERSITIES: Three Theoretical Perspectives By Igor Chirikov CSHE 5.16 (June 2016)