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Between New Public Management and Network Governance in Austria, Finland and Scotland: Potential Conflicts in Autonomy Understandings of Governments and Institutions

The Political Science doctoral thesis project is focussing on comparing Higher Education (HE) Policies with the background of different Welfare State types: Austria as a conservative-corporatist, Finland as a social-democratic and Scotland as a liberal Welfare State. From frame analysis of university acts between 1993 and 2016 and problem-centred interviews, I will present paradigm evidence of top-down-oriented New Public Management (NPM) and bottom-up-steered Network Governance (NG) at a macro-level, i. e. governance by the state. The paradigms connect with the theme of institutional autonomy, which differentiates into an academic, financial, organisational and staffing dimension. As a result, I propose the following hypothesis for the cases of Austria, Finland and Scotland: New Public Management is not (no more) dominant in HE Policies (some evidence on this is also available for Germany). Furthermore, I will present
a) results on which dimension of institutional autonomy is called on by which paradigm and
b) an example of an elaborated alternative to New Public Management from steering at a meso-level, i. e. within an institution.

With special attention to the theme of the academic dimension (program portfolio, student selection and teaching outcomes) in institutional autonomy, I will propose alternative process sketches of translating governance requirements into steering approaches (potentially with elements from both NPM and NG) for discussion. One process sketch could be more oriented towards the dominant governance formulation (understanding) paradigm, whereas the other sketch might be focussing on an alternative steering formulation paradigm. As a result, the extent of compatibility of bottom-up- and top-down approaches might be sounded.


  • Comparative Political Science
  • Higher Education Governance
  • Network Governance
  • New Public Management
  • University Steering


  • K. Stransky-Can



  • T2 Posterrunde III A (10∶00 10∶45)

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