Mergers in higher education : the experience from Northern Europe

  • Pinheiro R
  • Geschwind L
  • Aarrevaara T
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This book addresses the critical knowledge gaps of mergers involving higher education institutions. It is based on a comparative research project (spring 2013-spring 2015) investigating the phenomena of mergers involving higher education institutions across the Nordic countries - Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. The study involved close to 30 scholars from the region, and aimed at shedding critical light on, and providing novel contributions around, the following key aspects: Conceptual and theoretical approaches - strengths and limitations - towards the study of the phenomena of mergers in higher education; Historical developments, leading to significant structural changes in the domestic higher education landscape, and, in turn, how mergers have been used as a policy/institutional mechanism to foster adaptation to a new external environment at the local, national, regional and international levels; The complex dynamics inherent to merger processes by undertaking an in-depth investigation of a series of selected case studies, with a particular focus on the "black-box" associated with the implementation process; The implications of the findings as regards future policy and strategic endeavours, theory development and future research agenda. Acknowledgments; Contents; Contributors; Chapter Authors; Part I: Setting the Stage; Chapter 1: A World Full of Mergers: The Nordic Countries in a Global Context; 1.1 Introduction; 1.2 Higher Education Mergers: Taking Stock of the Existing Literature; 1.2.1 The Rationale for Merging; 1.2.2 The Black Box of the Merger Process; 1.2.3 Outcomes and Success Factors; 1.2.4 Mergers in Nordic Higher Education; 1.3 Organizational Perspectives on Mergers; 1.3.1 Population Ecology; 1.3.2 Structural Contingency Theory; 1.3.3 Resource-Dependence Theory; 1.3.4 Path-Dependence Theory; 1.3.5 Network Theory. 1.3.6 New Institutional Theory1.3.7 Cultural-Related Approaches; 1.4 Nordic Universities: Between the State, the Market and the Oligarchy; 1.5 The Rationale for This Volume and Its Scope; 1.5.1 Part I; 1.5.2 Part II; 1.5.3 Part III; 1.5.4 Part IV; References; Part II: Path Dependencies & System Dynamics; Chapter 2: Mergers in Norwegian Higher Education; 2.1 Introduction; 2.2 Institutional Logics as a Perspective to Analyse Mergers; 2.3 Three Phases of Mergers; 2.3.1 Phase 1: The Merger of Regional Colleges in 1994; 2.3.2 Phase 2: 2000-2013: Voluntary Merger Processes. Individual Advancement2.3.2.2 Merger with a University; The Creation of a Network University; 2.3.3 Phase 3: 2014 and Beyond: State Initiated Forced Mergers; 2.4 Mergers as Solutions, Drivers, and Mediators of Change; References; Chapter 3: Conflicting Rationalities: Mergers and Consolidations in Swedish Higher Education Policy; 3.1 Introduction and Historical Background; 3.2 Analytical Starting-Point: Actor-Centred Institutionalism; 3.3 The Current Form of University Governance; 3.4 The Policy Development: From Widening Participation to Research Excellence. 3.5 Possibilities and Constraints of University Mergers3.5.1 University College Kalmar and Växjö University; 3.5.2 Uppsala University and University College Gotland; 3.5.3 Stockholm Institute of Education and Stockholm University; 3.5.4 Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Art; 3.5.5 Stockholm University of the Arts; 3.5.6 Örebro University and Mälardalen University College; 3.5.7 A West Sweden University; 3.5.8 A Large Capital University; 3.5.9 Lund University and South Sweden Partner; 3.6 Concluding Discussion; References; Chapter 4: Merger Mania? The Finnish Higher Education Experience. 4.1 Introduction4.2 Background: Finnish Higher Education 101; 4.3 Mergers in Finland; 4.3.1 The Push for Mergers; 4.3.2 Mergers Came to Pass; 4.3.3 Landscape for Mergers; 4.4 Conclusion: Merger Mania During Periods of Reform; References; Chapter 5: Mergers in Danish Higher Education: An Overview over the Changing Landscape; 5.1 Introduction; 5.2 Background: The Danish Setting; 5.3 From Growth in the Number of Institutions to Mergers; 5.3.1 Professional Academies; 5.3.2 University Colleges; 5.3.3 Universities; 5.4 Merger Dynamics; 5.4.1 Agenda Setting; 5.4.2 The Decision-Making Process.




Pinheiro, R., Geschwind, L., & Aarrevaara, T. (n.d.). Mergers in higher education : the experience from Northern Europe.

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