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The strategic analysis of organizations: microeconomic and management perspectives, with an application to universities

Research project P4/28 (Research action P4)

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Description :

The project's goal is to explore new developments in organization theory and to apply them to the specific case of universities. The project is interdisciplinary in nature: while it has a strong microeconomic theory component, it also relies on management and organizational sociology perspectives. Universities represent an interesting case study since public budget constraints and exhortations to improve their management practices place them in a challenging and changing environment.

Moreover, universities are examples of non-profit institutions, which raises interesting questions as to their objective function and evaluation of their appropriate product mix (between undergraduate and graduate teaching and basic and applied research).

The project will build on the academic expertise of its team members in a number of areas: microeconomic theory and particularly incentive theory, industrial economics and the theory of information management in organisations (ULB, KUL, UMH); local public finances (ULB); strategic management theory (ULB, KUL, UMH); the economics of education (ULB, KUL). The project will also exploit the hands-on management expertise of several researchers, gained both in academic and non-academic institutions.

The research project comprises six different themes:

1. Incentives and information processing in organizations.
2. Financing and organization of research and development.
3. Organizational responses to external pressures.
4. Process of strategic management theory : a comparison of for-profit and non-profit organizations.
5. The economics of education: measuring the productivity of universities.
6. The strategic management of universities in a changing environment.

In terms of applications, the project will develop theoretical models and empirical tests that should lead to a normative analysis comparing various university management strategies and to recommendations for the funding of research and higher education in general.

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