Ministry and agencies in higher education: exploring new modes of system governance
Governance and the Responsible University
Philipp Friedrich, University of Oslo, Norway
Single presentation - 30 Minutes
The ministry presents a central actor in higher education (HE), and the strong emphasis on horizontal governance in public sector reforms by empowering sub-ordinate agencies shows the potential to transform the ministry’s role in the governance matrix. The article addresses this transformation process by focusing on the interaction between ministries and agencies in governing HE against the backdrop of recent public sector reforms. Being held accountable by society and the institutional level with regards to systemic interests, the article suggests to examine the interaction between ministries and agencies based on organizational autonomy and policy coordination, arguing that these present central dimensions in negotiating areas of responsibility within the HE sector. Empirically, this is exemplified by the Norwegian and Austrian ministries responsible for HE in their interaction with two sub-ordinate agencies, based on data from interviews with bureaucrats, politicians, and academics. Findings show that increased coordination and trust building play a central role in re-defining governance modes on system level.