1. National reforms in Europe aimed at enhancing higher education have common elements, but there are important inter-country differences in how they affected university governance modes, funding mechanisms, and organizational features.
2. The Netherlands and Norway represent two different reform approaches in their region, with the former moving more towards the Anglo-Saxon university approach and the latter remaining relatively strongly embedded in Nordic university governance traditions.
3. An analytical framework based on institutional theory can help interpret the differences in reform effects among countries and universities as well as the gaps between reform agendas' intentions and changes in governance structures realized within universities.
The article "University governance and leadership in Continental Northwestern Europe" provides a comparative analysis of the effects of higher education reforms on institutional governance structures in public, comprehensive universities in the Netherlands and Norway. The authors argue that national filters and sector-specific filters shape the implementation of global reform agendas, resulting in differences among countries and universities in how governance reforms are enacted.
The article presents an analytical framework based on two theoretical traditions anchored in institutional theory. However, the authors do not provide a clear explanation of how this framework is applied to their analysis or how it contributes to their findings. Additionally, while the authors acknowledge important inter-country differences in how reforms affected university governance modes, funding mechanisms, and organizational features, they do not provide sufficient evidence to support their claims.
One potential bias in the article is its focus on only two national cases, which limits the generalizability of its findings. Furthermore, the authors' selection of these cases seems arbitrary and does not account for other important factors that may have influenced university governance structures in these countries.
The article also lacks a discussion of potential counterarguments or alternative perspectives that could challenge its findings. For example, while the authors argue that universities form a specific institutional sphere with sector-specific filters for handling external pressures to functional adaptation, they do not consider how these filters may limit innovation or hinder necessary changes within higher education institutions.
Overall, while the article provides some insights into university governance and leadership models in Continental Northwestern Europe, it suffers from several limitations that undermine its credibility as a comprehensive analysis of this topic.