Adaptive University Structures

An Analysis of Adaptation to Socioeconomic Environments of US and European Universities

Higher education institutions are now operating in a rapidly-changing environment, as economic, societal and technological developments such as cost containment and lifelong learning force them to adopt flexible structures that can adapt quickly to market demands. Adaptive University Structures examines the level of adaptability in universities in Europe and the United States, drawing out the lessons learnt for policy makers and managers to develop such structures, and help their institutions survive and embrace change. The author draws on three studies of universities which are identified as comparatively adaptive and innovative - New York University, University of Michigan, and the University of California at Berkeley - and in contrast three European institutions which are trying to improve their adaptive capacity University Bocconi, University St Gallen, and Wirtschafts University Wien.

The book presents an overview of different disciplines within the universities and their views on adaptation. It examines the importance of an institution's environment and its dynamics for adaptive capacity, and concludes that an ideal academic organisation is open to change, with collegial governance structures that provide faculty support for adaptation. The author highlights in particular the role of institutional leaders in encouraging adaptation and a professional management and entrepreneurial spirit. The book concludes with an overview of different adaptation theories, and proposes a new theory to help university management to understand their institutional adaptive capacity better and develop strategies for the future.

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