The European Science Foundation funded a research project named ‘TRUE – Transforming Universities in Europe’. Eight groups in eight countries participated in this research: France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, and the UK.
The main assumption of this research was to trace the transformation(s) of universities in several European countries. Universities, although within different national systems, were supposed to move towards a clearer ‘institutional autonomy’ pattern.
TRUE tested if European universities are in a process of becoming more ‘complete organisations’, stressing the role of the governing bodies. Governing bodies, their (new) functions, and their actual powers were at the core of this possible driver of transformation.
This project brought essential insights in the field, and also served as a first attempt in the field of higher education to pursue organisational comparative research in more contexts at the same time.
The aim of this seminar is to present the backbone of this research, especially in its quantitative component, discussing critically some different options. The transformation of universities in a heterogeneous context like the European one may require future longitudinal designs for which the TRUE project can be a referral.
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