Scandinavian Higher Education Governance – Pursuing Similar Goals through Different Organizational Arrangements
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The differences and similarities among the three Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have been discussed by social scientists on several occasions. Focusing on higher education (HE) governance systems, this paper raises three questions. (1) What are the differences and similarities among the three countries? (2) How can the similarities and differences be explained? (3) Are the similarities strong enough to justify the common label of a Scandinavian model of HE governance? The three HE governance systems are briefly described and compared. They are then analyzed as, respectively, outcomes of partisan politics or politico-administrative regimes. The paper argues that similarities such as publicness, massive investments, and emphasis on access are best explained in terms of partisan politics, while the variation in governance arrangements can best be explained by path dependencies following choices made at critical junctures within similar politicoadministrative regimes.
Under embargo until: 2022-02-03