Strategic decision making in higher education: an analysis of the new planning system in Dutch higher education

Peter A.M. Maassen, Henry P Potman

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One of the main objects of the recently developed policy for Dutch higher education regards the creation of a more diversified higher education system with flexible and adaptive institutions. The nature of the proposed system should, among other things, reveal itself in meaningful and discriminating institutional profiles, based on strategic institutional choices. This article reflects on the degree to which these objects are realized. After the introduction of the new planning system in Dutch higher education, the article deals with the possibility of strategic planning in higher education institutions in general. Three different, but not necessary independent, models are distinguished: the linear strategy model, the adaptive strategy model and the interpretive strategy model. It is argued that the latter model can be applied best to higher education institutions. Some evidence on strategic planning in Dutch higher education illustrates the practice in this field. Empirical evidence shows that the governmental aim to increase the diversity in Dutch higher education is not very successful up till now. On the contrary, it seems that various homogenizing developments emerge. The concept of institutional isomorphism helps to explain some of the problems institutions encounter when trying to formulate and implement their strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-410
JournalHigher education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1990


  • METIS-100310
  • IR-85860

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