University governance and leadership in Continental Northwestern Europe

Harry F. de Boer, Peter Maassen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


With regard to the governance structures of European universities, changes have been proposed aimed at their democratic nature, the composition of governing bodies, the degree of centralisation in decision-making and redirecting the balance between collective and individual governing responsibilities. In this article, we address the effects of such governance reforms in public, comprehensive universities in Norway and the Netherlands. Differences across countries, even within a relatively homogeneous region such as Northwestern Europe, can be traced back to differences in underlying political visions towards university governance. After an overview of the main features of university governance structures in the two countries, we argue that a specific regional university governance practice has emerged with different combinations of executive and democratic elements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2045-2053
Number of pages9
JournalStudies in higher education
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2020


  • Governance reform
  • University governance structures
  • Norway
  • Netherlands
  • Decision-making

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