During the past few decades traditional state-centred governing arrangements have been critiqued and replaced by alternative modes of governance. Higher education is one of the public sectors where such shifts in governance have been seen. As a consequence of the reshuffling of authority and responsibilities across the different levels in Dutch higher education, universities as organizations have become important foci of attention in the system’s coordination. The main question addressed in this article is to what extent we can speak of an organizational transformation of Dutch universities. Based on conceptual ideas from researchers such as Greenwood and Hinings (1996), Ferlie et al. (1996), and Brunsson and Sahlin-Andersson (2000), we use a framework that focuses attention on the concepts of the construction of identity, hierarchy and rationality to systematically analyse the various aspects of transformations of professional organizations.