Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Reform and Development Trend for Research Paradigm of University Governance

Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Reform and Development Trend for Research Paradigm of University Governance

Article excerpt


Study on university governance has undergone three research paradigms, i.e. essentialism, structuralism and culturalism, and now is moving towards post-modernism research paradigm, the university governance under which paradigm focuses on co-governance by interested persons. Two propositions need to be demonstrated under the new governance pattern, the non-contradictoriness between democratic participation by interested persons and university governance performance, and the positive correlation between co-govemance by interested persons and university governance performance.

Key words: University governance; Research paradigm; Reform and development

Li, M., & Cui, Y. Q. (2014). Reform and Development Trend for Research Paradigm of University Governance. CrossCultural Communication, 10(5), 115-123. Available from: http//www.c DOI:


With the continuous development of the society, the unicity and certainty of truth highly praised by modernity have brought about enormous impact on the fields of social politics and management, where the rational aspect of politics has established the central position of government and shaped the basic survival pattern of bureaucracy. However, in the face of the forthcoming of the post-industrial era, the features of mono-centralism, universality and meta-narration represented by such certainty, unitary and specialized system design have made increasingly meagre the management mode by government or administrative power at its core.

Higher education is a subsystem of the social system, and its government-dominated mono-centric management system has shown its obvious inadaptation to the current coexistence pattern of pluralistic stakeholders. The challenge we face is, therefore, how to build a scientific university governance model to adapt to the ever changing development of future universities. As some American scholars said when addressing the future of domestic universities,

in a stable period of development, leading and managing university has been no easy task; in the coming period of rapid changes, many traditional management mechanisms and leading methods will soon become obsolete, and it becomes more difficult to effectively respond to the constant changes... (James & Farris, 2004, August 25)

It is also based on such challenge that many Chinese scholars have put forth the proposition for university governance, using governance theory to re-examine the reform of university management system, with the hope of establishing a new partnership of equality and cooperation. Currently we have gone through the stage of reflection and debate over "whether universities can be governed", turning to the research boom of "how to improve the performance of university governance". The issue of university governance has been included as explicit policy discourse system in the "Outline of the National Plan for Medium and Long-Term Education Development (20102020)", and the requirement of "modernization of the capability for higher education governance" has been further proposed in the working points of the Ministry of Education in 2014. Such issues as enhancing the internal governance structure of the university, improving capacity for university governance and promoting corporate governance of modem universities are hot topics among scholars, and university governance has become not only a challenge that has to be faced in the establishment of modem university system, but also a new opportunity and growth point for deepening the reform of university management system and expanding autonomy in running universities.

The current study aims to serve as a modest spur, and its main task is twofold, the first of which is to divide into phrases the studies conducted in recent years concerning university governance and to give summary comments to the research priorities of each phrase; and the second of which is to demonstrate the possibility of "co-governance by stakeholders" as future trend of post-modernism research paradigm. …

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