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Analysis of global academic modeling of university systems.


Historically, early humans were ignorant not stupid, but their potential curiosity to experience new discoveries, not their ignorance, were their most important characteristics. There are two extreme views concerning human's historical intelligence: (1) Aristotelianism and (2) Darwinism. Aristotle believed that humans by nature have been intelligent creatures because they simply exercise reasoning. To be rational is to be human. The life of each creature manifests what it is by nature. Darwin, however, viewed intelligence as a rather late product of evolution, developing gradually to reach its most potent form in humans. Intelligence, like all other biological functions, came into existence as a tool in the struggle for existence. This is known as adaptation. The term adaptation means to discover innovative ideas through thinking critically. How did our ancestors first discover what they should know and then what they should teach and learn about what they reasonably and logically should know? The reason for being reasonable or logical is quite unlike Aristotle's view that reason should be exercised because it is human to exercise it (Weber, 1960, p. 252). Therefore, sophisticated searching for the discovery of the truth and teaching the truth laid foundation for higher learning endeavor. Dewey (1939) was the first philosopher of education who made systemic use of Darwin's ideas. Dewey looked upon intelligence as one of the human's chief tools for securing adaptation. Adaptation means to search to know general characteristics of the environment; then make changes in self and the environment and finally to implement intelligent decisions and actions in order to survive. Also, Dewey did not forget the endless sociocultural problems faced by humans that go far beyond the mere problem of biological survival.

Historically, when humans established their own group's identity, they initiated philosophical principles in self-instruction as the earliest system of adult education. The youths were inquisitive and adults began to preserve historical cultural philosophy of life in order to be transferred to the oncoming generations. They created philosophical theories as crossroads through the realm of intellectual reflections. They created philosophies of education as the bedrock in which branches of knowledge have emerged.

To analyze foundational philosophies of higher educational systems requires strategic attention to be paid to the general characteristics of colleges and universities. A college or university needs to teach students how to learn discovered knowledge. It should be indicated that knowledge is not static. Knowledge is dynamic; it is subject to production of knowledge and completing knowledge. Professors along their teaching responsibilities should conduct research and institutional incumbents should provide services to the community in order to progress and advance their citizens' cognitive perceptions and their prospective valuable lifestyles. It is obvious that there is no business for colleges and universities if there are no valuable thoughts. The concept of creating valuable thoughts and behavior is concerned with the ways in which a system has established principles of beliefs and expectations to guide decision makers and to know how to interact with constituencies over an extended period of time. For clarity in our strategic analysis, we pose three key questions as follows: What are the basic philosophical fundamental beliefs and operational practices concerning relationships among academic stakeholders namely students, faculty members, administrators,

board members of trustees or regents, professional and accreditation associations, governmental regulatory agencies, and families at large? As we will find out, intrinsic-institutional and extrinsic-societal relations commonly take mixed forms of cooperative and conflictive end results in colleges and universities. Cooperation among academicians and politico-economical authorities in a nation can synergize their academic programs and mitigates conflicting result in hostile confrontations among interest groups and degrades academic performance. Just as we are concerned with understanding why cooperation and conflicts are common among colleges and universities' constituencies and external societal authorities, we will find out how philosophies of a system design, policy design and performance design models can create harmony or conflicts in a nation.

How can governmental authorities with their political aspirations dominate regulate and provide funding for colleges and universities and convert them into effective political arms to rule over people? Dominated governmental supported colleges and universities appoint executives as system chancellors and/or campus presidents based on three models: (1) to be academically qualified in the specialized field of "university administration--AQ based upon "trial and wisdom," (2) to be qualified in any discipline and practical administrative experience--PEQ based on experience, (3) to be politically qualified and supported by interest groups--PQ, based on "trial and catastrophes," and (4) to be holistically qualified--F1Q, based upon trial and popularity "- by the integration of AQ, PEQ, and F1Q to influence academic environments for the benefit of community of scholars and socio-political aspirations. What governmental appointees attempt to do is to create effective environments for political figures to support them in order to keep them in their offices. In return, college or university presidents with their discretionary authorities employ those subordinates who promote their ideas and socio-political ideologies. In fact, such a social pressure forces faculty members to integrate political ideologies within the vision and mission of a college or university and to some extent to avoid professionalism. Sometimes, faculty members on the basis of their professional academic responsibilities resent administrators' strategies and may organize themselves into pressure groups to force presidents and/or chancellors to resign (by the vote of no-confidence) and/or to be removed or vice versa. Nevertheless, strategic management planning can diffuse interest groups' hostility and create harmony among academicians and governmental authorities.

What are the long-range effective academic outcomes in a multicultural society? We need to define and describe general characteristics of different types of philosophical modeling of strategic management systems of higher education. When a higher educational system builds up its philosophical institutional infrastructure, they need to examine certain philosophical foundations.

The strategic management models that have been analyzed in this paper have multiple phases and resolutions. They involve several interrelated and interdependent consequential phases. First, the institutions of higher learning should carry out a careful analysis of their historical and current environmental information. Second, they should precisely define traditional aspirations of academic freedom, free speech and civil liberty within both concepts of critical thinking and thinking critically. Third, they should rationalize strategic formulations concerning defining boundaries of academic freedom, free speech and civil liberty. Each of the above strategic elements and their characteristics in both academic and operational decision-making processes possesses its own norms that will be explained in more depth in the strategic modeling of this article.


In recent years, it has become commonplace for one discipline to borrow terminology and models from another. Mechanical, biological, and ecological frameworks have cross-fertilized scientific endeavors in most of the social sciences. The concept of general strategic management model that now well established in the business world, has similarly spanned and germinated across disciplines such as political science, organizational theory; military sciences; and higher educational policy and planning systems. Researchers were using strategic management models long before the term model became a key word in the management scientists' vocabulary.

The strategic management modeling can best be studied and applied using models. Every model represents some kind of priorities of achievable objectives. Some are political-economic oriented, while others are professional. Nevertheless, each selected model without knowing environmental forces does not guarantee success, but it does represent a clear and practical approach for conceptualizing, formulating, implementing and evaluating strategies. The models, we are referring to in this article are the highlights of higher educational strategic management philosophies along with their existing aspirations, visions, missions, objectives and strategies. The matter of developing models for academic administration is not a simple one. There are too many complexities within these models. Higher educational systems today are faced with tremendous changes and revisions of policies and procedures that make strategic managerial operations more difficult and more complex than ever before.

As stated before, there is no doubt that higher educational systems around the world are facing a crisis of governance and the state of future financial uncertainty. Some of the systems are student discontent with college and university priorities, unresponsive professors, non-relevant curricula, rigid instructional and research policies and other facets of institutional life. Taken together, these symptoms signal that higher educational systems must find some new scientific directions for determining the future of academic and administrative operational activities. Universities vary in the processing of the use of strategic management models. Many of the concepts and strategic management models that deal with long-range planning have been developed and used successfully in the United States and abroad.

For these analytical purposes, the selection of three academic models in this article that have been developed at least will serve as the beginning point in analyzing higher educational strategic management systems. Although all three models do not account for successful decisions and actions, which are important factors in administrative styles, it is useful to study scientifically a gross assessment of strategic decision-making process for their future actions. Models of strategic management in higher educational institutions typically have been developed by research experiences and intended either from managerial operation or educational use. Many higher educational administrators spend valuable times trying to solve the wrong problems or non-existing problems. They often make their strategic choices based on misinformation or faulty assumptions about how their systems work. One of the most critical activities of top administrators is strategic decision-making function. A number of prominent researchers have emphasized the importance of models. The strategy literature typically does not differentiate between the models and their assumptions. The models have not been subjective to which their assumptions are warranted and whether one yielded more satisfactory system's outcomes than the other. In an effort to begin with addressing this deficiency, we should identify that the system and the class relationships are not the same as the ones that are connected with outcomes that should be called effective productive roles of higher educational systems.


Traditionally, higher educational systems have three main functions, or more accurately three levels of society's functional orientations: (1) teaching oriented universities, (2) research oriented universities and (3) community academic service oriented universities. All are serving global citizens according to the following objectives:

* They are sub-societal systems that are occupying some portions of political ideological endeavor.

* They process societal systems of thoughts.

* They utilize certain socioeconomic resources with definite intellectual objectives.

For studying higher educational systems and managerial styles, we must start with four major dimensional views as follows:

* Reviewing a society's sociocultural beliefs, political-legal ideologies, people's dynamic functional interactions, professional-occupational interrelations, historical performance and innovative scientific capabilities.

* Analyzing social orientations and class relationship between triangles of politico-economic power role players: governmental regulatory agencies, colleges and universities and community.

* Examining the decisions and the class relationships that are converted into higher educational strategies and societal changes.

* Reaching down to the levels of the systems and their sub-systems to assess their institutional outcomes' effectiveness.

It should be noted that, in colleges and universities, there are five major platforms that are viewed as foundations of academic influential aspirations: (1) political ideologies, (2) cultural beliefs, (3) religious faiths, (4) demographic trends and (5) professional and occupational academic values. All these five major forces influence both short and long range of strategic decision making processes and operations for higher educational systems.


In the three models that have been analyzed through this article, the debate is not on higher educational processes, but rather changing the reality of the relationships between administrative world of higher education and society's sociopolitical aspirations at large. Also, the debate is revealing in its class relationships, its orientation and its sociopolitical outcome spectrum. First, in the following pages we will analyze the Strategic System Design model, second we will describe the Strategic Policy Design model and third we will analyze the Strategic Qualitative Performance Design model.


A system is defined as an aggregation or assemblage of objects or institutions united by some forms of regular interactions or interdependences. In a higher educational environment, a system is found a group of diverse colleges and universities so combined by general rules and regulations to form an integrated whole unity to function, operate or move in unified operations and in obedience to some form of comprehension, command, control, communication, coordination, cooperation, and collaboration--seven Cs. In the time, when societal institutions are being challenged more widely than in any period of history, including colleges and universities, it is wise to step aside from the perspective of historical events and view it from the futuristic lenses of change and change agents. We need to analyze higher educational systems from two different cultural views: (1) functional and (2) utopian. From the standpoint of clever functional views, university systems have been designed carefully in which some truth is sometimes interwoven to justify rationally academic freedom on paper. Such a factual claim exists by authorities to bring organizational constituencies within the operation of the rule of law. This is an idealistic cultural value system that has been claimed by all politico-economic doctrines among nations. From the standpoint of imagery utopian views, the utopia as a culture to be more desirable than the one in which a system claims for its future. Strategically, the college or university aspiration, vision and mission statements declare such a utopian objective. Some philosophers like Anatolia France believed that: "Without the Utopias of other times men would still live in caves, miserable and naked... Out of generous dreams come beneficial realities. Utopia is the principle of all progress." From the standpoint of imagery utopian views, the utopia as a culture to be more desirable than the one in which a system claims for its future. Strategically, the college or university vision-mission statements declare such a utopian objective.

The mission of academic institutions is to deal with both fictional and utopian unknown phenomena. Know that humans have discovered so much unknown, they must learn about the complex nature of humans and their relationships, that greatest reservoir of unknowns, so that they can predict and control their future. A system design model of higher education is viewed as integrative united institutions of higher learning and research centers with a unified form of governance to be influenced mainly by professional, political, demographical, cultural, economic and historical forces.

The focal objectives of a higher educational system are enhancing students' knowledge. The main influential factors within this model are the notions of comprehension, command, control, communication, cooperation, coordination and collaboration among incumbents to mobilize colleges and universities' constituencies into a large centralized unit system in order to fulfill national ideological aspirations. This kind of centralized administrative authorities handles all general administrative policies concerning financial sponsorship of institutions of higher education, the number and location of affiliated system's institutions, the academic aspiration, vision, mission and objectives of the system's colleges and universities, the system's enrollment size and retention rates of students, the standards of access and quality of academic performance and the establishment and implementation of tenure, tenure track and part-time faculty members as matters to be resolved by the system board of regents or trustees. For example, as Millett and his associates (1984, p. 6) reported: "The proportion of young people who were motivated, economically able, and intellectually competent to enroll in higher education also increased after World War II. In 1940 about 47 percent of (American) eighteen-year-olds graduated from high school and about 13 percent enrolled in college. In 1980, however, about 75 percent of eighteen-year-olds graduated from high school and some 40 percent enrolled in colleges."

According to the SSD model, affiliated colleges and universities are structured according to political-professional ideologies. Colleges and universities operate under direct influential political authorities; judiciary, legislative and executive bodies that are shielded by constitutional status from direct intervention by elected authorities in democratic nations or by appointed politicians under autocratic nations. In addition, the boards of regents and/or in developing countries the ministries of higher education play the fourth source of political power in a society. Faculty members feel a semi-sense of professionalism concerning academic freedom and organize themselves through mobilization of members in associations and unionization to defend academic freedom and free speech.

In the SSD model, the system chancellors and the Secretary of the Department of Education or ministers of higher education along with campus presidents play mediatory roles on behalf of bureaucratic authorities (government and boards of regents/trustees), faculty members (academic unions or associations) and students' governance associations. Both administrators and faculty union representatives negotiate the terms of employment and mutually agree on signing a collective bargaining contract. All four key work financial derivatives of the colleges and universities including program quality in teaching, research, academic community services and international academic contributions are directed and managed by centralized administrative authorities. Despite that each institution may or may not possess a board of governance, the management system is highly bureaucratic.

Usually, the system operates without significant micro-environmental modifications. The federal or the state coordinating boards of higher education and departments or ministries of higher education are responsible for strategic planning and coordinating academic affairs of all dominated institutions. For example, Kerr (1992, p.54) indicated: The California System, according to one of its surviving founders, was developed through 1960 master plan as a treaty among the constituent parts of higher education ... that would, at the same time, be accepted to the governor and legislature."

Generally, public funded colleges and universities in California are organized into three major systems: The University of California System as a research oriented system, The California State University System as teaching oriented institutions and the California Community Colleges as local peoples' academic entrepreneurial enhancement oriented organizations. Also, academic affairs of all dominated institutions as higher educational systems are subject to the collective bargaining contracts, and shared governance inhibits better coordination by allowing professionals to determine, without much involvement from outsiders, the appropriate responses to public perceptions of state needs (Richardson et al., 1999, p. 174). Differences in the way the three major systems operate are the result of variances in academic policy and strategic planning environments rather than in structural dimensions.


The distribution of power between a country's authorities at federal, state and local and higher educational systems and institutions reflects the interests' articulation among decision-makers and executives concerning public policies and policy priorities. In order to first understand the infrastructure of political power diffusion in the public sector, we need to analyze the structural mechanism of power in a nation. Parhizgar (2002, p. 74) indicated that the socio-cultural and political-economical doctrine in a nation include an elaborated system of concepts, spelling out the entire structure of society's means and ends without specified institutional arrangements. Sometimes, in analyzing the social reality of a nation's socio-political doctrine, it becomes clearer by stepping back from the historical concrete images of day-to-day activities and events and by analyzing the large mechanical context of a political doctrine. Within the contextual boundaries of sociopolitical infrastructure in a nation we need to take into account the term of stakeholders.

Higher educational systems and their affiliated institutions are embedded in and interacted with multiple changing local, national, and global environmental forces. At all three levels of environmental contexts, colleges and universities are increasingly moving toward global dynamically interrelated interactions among local, national and global policies, procedures and performances. Within the contextual boundary of knowledge, we must think globally before acting locally in any academic deliberation. The macro-level of environmental forces illustrate how stakeholders affect the performance and operation of higher educational systems. The framework can be used as a strategic starting point to identify trends, issues, opportunities and threats.

How do higher educational systems and their affiliated campuses respond to various resources when societal issues and dilemmas from one affect others? The stakeholders as policyholders are ways of understanding the effects of environmental forces and groups on specific issues that affect students, faculty members, and administration. The stakeholder approach begins with specific questions by enabling students, faculty members and administrative groups to articulate collaboration, coordination and cooperation with a win-win strategy based on the following factors: (1) identifying sources of power and influential forces. (2) Identifying and prioritizing issues and dilemmas. (3) Identifying the influential positions of societal policyholders. (4) Mapping who are their stakeholders. (5) Identifying their stakes, interest, and powerhouse resources. (6) Showing who are the members of policymakers with what level of political and professional capabilities? (7) Showing what stakeholders' positions are concerning issues and dilemmas. (8) Developing a reciprocal collaborative strategy from a higher ground perspective to initiate interactive debates, discussions and dialogues in order to reach to the desired closure for all parties.


Today, many colleges and universities design their strategic decision making processes at the level of qualitative enhancement performance and availability of adequate resources. Quality is a universal objective. At the same time, it is one of the least understood concepts. Everyone desires it, but most of the time they don't know what is it. In the field of academic administration, qualitative enhancement performance (QEP) is a philosophy and a set of scientific methodological tools that enable colleges and universities to pursue continuous systematic improvement in rendering academic services to students. One aspect of the qualitative enhancement performance is related to the efficacy of teaching and learning processes. Another is related to the innovative research and publications. Also, quality is the rhetoric philosophy of being excellent. The battle may be about the primacy of effective curricula and the desire of learners to enhance their performances. Seymour (1995, p. 50) expressed its views concerning qualitative enhancement performance of higher educational systems as follows: (1) who are our students and why do they come here? (2) What should a graduate be like? (3) How do students change and why? (4) How do students talk about their own learning? (5) Is there a better way to organize the curricula? (6) How could we do it better? Qualitative enhancement performance in teaching and learning endeavor has been viewed as an integrated assessment between instructors and learners concerning means (the process of teaching) and ends (the process of learning). The deriving forces behind QEP concerning students' perceptions are as follows: (1) what do I want to learn? (2) What do I want to achieve by learning? (3) How should my learning efforts be evaluated? (4) How should I manage my time? (5) How much efforts need to achieve the highest level of learning? (6) How can I organize my study habit to achieve in depth learning? According to the QEP model, all processes of teaching and learning compose of four major dimensions: (1) institutional enhancement, (2) resources enhancement, (3) performance enhancement and (4) quality enhancement. The outcome assessment of QEP is creating public trust.


In application of strategic management phases, strategists should design their strategies in such a way to perceive how to utilize the flow of historical, current and future forecasting data for comprehensive long range planning. The strategic models of higher educational management systems tell us what is and is not important in a college and/or university management planning and performance. For studying higher educational systems and managerial styles, we must start with six major dimensional views: (1) reviewing a society's sociocultural beliefs, (2) political-legal ideologies, (3) dynamic functional interactions, (4) professional-occupational interrelations, (5) historical performance and (6) innovative scientific capabilities.

Suzan S. Parhizgar, Hemet Hospital

Kamal Dean Parhizgar, Texas A&M International University


Dewey, J. (1939). Freedom and culture. New York: Putman.

Gorry, G. A. (1971). The development of managerial models. Sloan Management Review, 12(2), 1-15.

Kerr, C. (1992). The California master plan for higher education: an ex ante view. The OECD, the master plan and the California dream: a Berkeley conversation. In S. Rothblatt (Ed.), Berkeley California: regents of the University of California.

Millett, J. D., Elarcleroad, F. F., Mautz, R. B., McKinney, T. EL, Wood, R. C., & Muringhan, M. (1984). Conflict in higher education: state government coordination versus institutional independence. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Parhizgar, K. D. (2002). Multicultural behavior and global business environments. New York: Haworth Press.

Richardson, Jr., R. C. Bracco, K. R., Callan, P. M., & Finney, J. E. (1999). Designing state higher education systems for a new century. Phoenix, Arizona: The American Council on Education and the Oryx Press.

Seymour, D. (1995). TQM: focus on performance, not resources. In Ruben, B. D. (Ed.). Quality in higher education. New Brunswick, USA: Translation Publishers.
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Author:Parhizgar, Suzan S.; Parhizgar, Kamal Dean
Publication:Competition Forum
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Jul 1, 2015
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