Managing mergers – governancing institutional integration
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Despite striking similarities, the adoption and implementation of policy shifts regarding higher education governance vary considerably across the globe, suggesting a mixed picture of diversification and isomorphism both within and across national higher education systems. By unpacking one particular structural reform process, this paper focuses on mergers as both a governance tool and a governance result in higher education. The paper analyzes the strategic decisions taken by Norwegian higher education institutions during 2014 in the light of a proposed national reform to merge institutions in order to enhance quality in higher education. The empirical basis of the paper consists of analyses of the commissioned self-evaluations of the higher education institutions, and the strategic choices and dilemmas they expressed. The process can be seen as organizational engineering in the sense that it emerges from the selfevaluation process, but is also subject to governancing on the part of the ministry.