Knowledge, politics and organization

TRUE – Transforming Universities

TRUE addresses the Governance and Steering topic in the EUROHESC call for proposals. The aim of the research is to clarify how steering and governance have affected organisational characteristics of HEIs and how this has affected the differentiation of the European HE landscape.

Main content

The Collaborative Research Project TRUE is funded by the European Science Foundation under the programme Higher Education and Social Change (EuroHESC). The project is a comparative study of higher education reforms in eight European countries that aims to clarify how steering and governance affect essential organizational characteristics of higher education institutions and how this in turn affects the differentiation of the higher education landscape. This will help understand how consciously designed European and national reforms affect national systems and presumably their basic functions: education, research and innovation and individual institutions.


Three perspectives:

The transformation will be analysed by means of three perspectives:

  1. Universalism assumes that universities are specific organisations
  2. Instrumentalism assumes that universities are just like any kind of organisation
  3. Institutionalism assuming that the crucial question is the fit between the norms and values of universities and reformers.


The CRP focuses on three interrelated themes:

  • Governance and steering
  • Organisational change
  • The higher education landscape.

The IPs and APs have divided the subthemes systematically between them in order to study the subthemes comparatively in a systematic way.

The CRP has accordingly adopted a systematic procedure for a common eight country database based on five data collection strategies:

  1. National cases studies based on a common design, realised by national teams.
  2. Case studies of three individual HEIs in each country (24 overall)
  3. Joint survey of all HEIs in the involved countries, developed collectively and delivered nationally.
  4. In-depth comparative analyses of national policies and instruments
  5. Collection of common data for a basic characterization of HEIs.


TRUE Framework

FP-007: The Transformation of European Universities (TRUE)

Project Leader:

Prof. Ivar Bleiklie, Department of Administration and Organization Theory,

U. Bergen

Principal Investigators:

  • Prof. António Magahães, CIPES, U. Porto
  • Dr. Benedetto Lepori, Faculty of Communication Sciences, U. Switzerland
  • Prof. Barbara Kehm, International Centre for Higher Education Research Kassel (INCHER), U. Kassel
  • Prof. Jürgen Enders, Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS), U. Twente
  • Dr. Nicoline Frølich, NIFUSTEP, Oslo

Associate Partners:

  • Prof. Jeroen Huisman, ICHEM (International Centre for Higher Education Management), School of Management, U. Bath
  • Dr. Emanuela Reale, CERIS-CNR, Italy
  • Dr. Christine Musselin, Centre de Sociologie des Organisations (CSO) Paris, CNRS





TRUE Network

TRUE Network


1.       Ivar Bleiklie

2.       Svein Michelsen

3.       Tor Halvorsen

4.       Gigliola Mathisen

5.       PhD-student


6.       António Magalhães

7.       Rui Santiago

8.       Maria de Lourdes Machado

9.       Sofia Sousa

10.   Orlanda Tavares


11.   Jürgen Enders

12.   Harry de Boer

13.   PhD-student


14.   Barbara Kehm

15.   Peter Martin Kretek

16.   Zarko Drasic


17.   Benedetto Lepori

18.   Martin Benninghoff

19.   Martina Montauti


20.   Jeroen Huisman

21.   Paulo Botas


22.   Nicoline Frølich

23.   Stig Slipersæter


24.   Christine Musselin

25.   PhD-student


26.   Emanuela Reale

27.   Marco Seeber

28.   PhD student