The notion of strategic actorhood (Krücken & Meier, 2006) is now commonly accepted in the higher education literature. This concept is part of what the authors label as the organizational turn in higher education in which higher education institutions (HEIs) have become 'real', 'autonomous' or 'complete' organizations.
To benefit even better of the potential of the concept of actorhood, I argue, it is necessary to (a) look at a broader range of organizational actions and communications; and (b) increase our understanding of the dynamics of the strategic processes and activities that HEIs engage in. It would therefore be fruitful to connect the central element of accountability to the broader literature on legitimacy, identity and image. By doing this, it will become clear that HEIs are not only answerable for performance, but can actually actively employ a wide range of strategies and tactics to sustain their survival.
Krücken, G. & Meier, F. (2006). Turning the university into an organizational actor. In G. S. Drori, J. W. Meyer, & H. Hwang (Eds.), Globalization and organization: World society and organizational change (pp. 241–257). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Jeroen Huisman is professor of Higher Education at CHEGG. He holds a Master's degree Educational Studies, University of Groningen, the Netherlands (1991) and a PhD in Public Administration of the University of Twente, the Netherlands (1995). In 2005, he was appointed professor of Higher Education Management at the University of Bath, UK. In 2013, he was granted an FWO Odysseus project at Ghent University. His main research interests are: organizations and organizational change, organizational diversity, internationalization and higher education policy.