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University Governance: Lessons From an Innovative Design for Collaboration

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Journal of Management Inquiry

Published online on


The "Reflections on Experience" section of the June 2009 issue of the Journal of Management Inquiry contained six articles examining the challenges associated with contemporary university governance and called for new theory and approaches. In this article, we respond by reporting one university’s innovative governance design that provides an imaginative alternative to the traditional bicameral model of the board of trustees (or governing board) and administration, and the faculty senate. Its collaborative model utilizes intermediate-sized, competency-based, and representative joint policy committees as the central means of formulating strategy. Outcomes of this alternative approach include greater trust, better and more timely decisions, and a reduction in intraorganizational conflict. We conclude that the approach merits attention as an alternative to the bicameral model and that management studies can help improve higher education governance research and practice.