Comparative Strategic Positioning of Four Academic Administrative Models: Bureaucracy, Technocracy, Meritocracy, and Kakistocracy

By Parhizgar, Kamal Dean; Parhizgar, Suzan S. | Competition Forum, January 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Comparative Strategic Positioning of Four Academic Administrative Models: Bureaucracy, Technocracy, Meritocracy, and Kakistocracy


Parhizgar, Kamal Dean, Parhizgar, Suzan S., Competition Forum


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In this paper, first we have introduced the Strategic Position and Action Evaluation (SPACE) matrix and its dimensions. Second, we have presented four distinct illustrative scenarios to identify the effect of positioning of an institutional academic administrative performance in terms of constraints and the possible leverage conditions. This discussion is then followed by a discussion of certain desirable positioning strategies that administrators should strive for in the long run, given their institution's current status and the constraints facing it. After that we have presented our future research direction in this respect in terms of academic freedom, political censorship, economic hardship, and technological synergy. The SPACE matrix introduces concepts and tools for addressing the type of academic administrative leadership styles as: bureaucracy, technocracy, meritocracy, and kakistocracy.

Keywords: Bureaucracy, Technocracy, Meritocracy, and Kakistocracy

INTRODUCTION

In the field of higher educational administration, there are numerous reasons that have been declared by researchers, authors, experts, and administrators as to why a centralized higher educational system in an authoritative country or in colleges and universities in a democratic society should engage in strategic management processes. There is little about the dominant role that change has played in our contemporary society and that is nowhere more evident than in higher educational institutions. Without exception, all colleges and universities today are vibrating from the forces of change. These forces can be summarized into general scientific advancement, technological development, political crisis, and social disputes. The amount of knowledge has an accelerated path. At last, not at least, a majority of young men, women, and racial minority groups are participating in the colleges and universities. They are going into the workforce too. Adults are coming back to colleges and universities to be reeducated with new knowledge and to grasp the new digestive images of modern technological life. Therefore, people's expectations of colleges and universities are varied. The irony about change is that it makes planning more difficult and complex if colleges and universities are planning and desiring to serve diverse groups of applicants. They should be functionally prepared for such academic services. The best type of planning that appears to be the most appropriate form for the future is strategic planning.

On the other hand, on the basis of all the facts, colleges and universities have been advised to conduct market research, monitor trends in alumni's occupational success, and maintain the academic excellence in their environment. Colleges and universities are forced to increase their flexibility (hiring part-time faculty members as lecturers, limiting tenure awards, initiating post-tenure review, relaxing regulations, and serving community's labor and manpower demands) and updating their academic program offerings. Yet, on rare occasions, few academic leaders are able and willing to focus systematically on change. They are largely taken up by today's academic activities and administrative operations. However, colleges and universities need not just to react to the changes. They can be proactive or even make changes happen.

In sum, strategic management in higher educational systems allows colleges and universities to base their decisions on longrange forecasts, not spur-of-the moment reactions. It allows them to take action at an early stage of a new generation and consider the lead-time for effective administrative decision-making processes and practices. There is a general concern that why top administrators and educational leaders must manage strategically their institutional planning. They cannot make decisions based on long-standing rules, policies, standards of admissions or academic performances, instructional designs, and operational programs. …

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