Higher education and its communities: Interconnections, interdependencies and a research agenda

Ben Jongbloed, Jürgen Enders, Carlo Salerno

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    556 Citations (Scopus)
    218 Downloads (Pure)


    Universities everywhere are being forced to carefully reconsider their role in society and to evaluate the relationships with their various constituencies, stakeholders, and communities. In this article, stakeholder analysis is put forward as a tool to assist universities in classifying stakeholders and determining stakeholder salience. Increasingly universities are expected to assume a third mission and to engage in interactions with industrial and regional partners. While incentive schemes and government programmes try to encourage universities to reach out more to external communities, some important barriers to such linkages still remain. To fulfil their obligation towards being a socially accountable institution and to prevent mission overload, universities will have to carefully select their stakeholders and identify the ‘right’ degree of differentiation. For the university, thinking in terms of partnerships with key stakeholders has important implications for its governance and accountability arrangements. For the future of the universities we foresee a change towards networked governance and arrangements to ensure accountability along the lines of corporate social responsibility. In order to further explore some of these concepts and to empirically investigate the tendencies suggested here, this article proposes an ambitious research agenda for tackling the emerging issues of governance, stakeholder management and higher education’s interaction with society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)303-324
    Number of pages22
    JournalHigher education
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • Stakeholder analysis
    • Third mission
    • Governance
    • Community engagement


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