Joe Christopher, Sarath Ukwatte, Prem Yapa,
How do government policies influence the governance paradigm of Australian public universities?: An historical analysis
(2020) Journal of Management History, 26 (2), pp. 231-248.
Purpose: This study aims to examine how government policies have influenced the governance paradigm of Australian public universities from a historical perspective. In doing so, it addresses current uncertainty on government-governance connectivity.
Design/methodology/approach: The study draws on Foucault’s concept of governmentality and governance and uses a developed framework of three constituents of governance to explore government–governance connectivity through a critical discourse analysis.
Findings: The findings reveal that government policies have influenced the three constituents of governance differently since 1823, resulting in three distinct governance discourses. In the third governance discourse, the findings reveal a deviation from policy directions towards corporate managerialism, resulting in a hybrid governance control environment. This scenario has arisen due to internal stakeholders continuing to be oriented towards the previous management cultures. Other factors include structural and legalistic obstacles to the implementation of corporate managerialism, validity of the underlying theory informing the policy directions towards corporate managerialism and doubts on the achievability of the market based reforms associated with corporate managerialism. The totality of these factors suggests a theory practice gap to be confirmed through further empirical research. There are also policy implications for policymakers to recognize the hybrid control environment and ascertain the risk the hybrid control environment poses towards the expected outcomes of corporate managerialism.
Research limitations/implications: The findings are limited to a critical discourse analysis of data from specific policies and journal publications on higher education and a developed framework of constituents of governance. Originality/value: The study is the first to examine government–governance connectivity in Australian public universities and also the first to introduce a three-constituent governance framework as a conduit to explore such studies. The findings contribute to the literature in identifying a theory-practice gap and offer opportunities for further research to confirm them.