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Comparative Analysis of Institutional Innovations in Higher Education: Federal vs Flagship

Comparative Analysis of Institutional Innovations in Higher Education: Federal vs Flagship

Journal of Economic Regulation, , Vol. 8 (no. 4),

The paper deals with the processes related to the federal and flagship universities’ establishment and performance in the Russian regions. The review of the literature on institutional change in higher education has enabled the authors to identify several university models classified depending on the methods of replicating old and creating new managerial hierarchies: collegial, democratic, state and market ones. Specific types of strategies which universities can choose to achieve their goals are specified as follows: institutional strategy, market strategy and resource strategy. It is justified in the article that the dominance of the state model of universities in the Russia imposes restrictions on the simultaneous use of several strategies. An analogy has been drawn between the principles of the federal and flagship universities’ establishment in Russian regions and "forced institutional isomorphism", on the one hand; on the other hand, the features of "mimetic institutional isomorphism" as the characteristics of the imitative practices universities from regions follow are revealed. The historical background of the process of federal and flagship universities’ institutionalization in Russia is examined. The article analyzes strategic documents – development programs of the higher education institutes: two of them located in the Southern Federal District, Rostov Region (Southern Federal University and one of the first flagship universities in Russia – Don State Technical University), and two are from the Siberian Federal District (Siberian Federal University and a flagship one – Siberian State Aerospace University). The following factors are suggested as adversely affecting universities’ performance: loss of autonomy and strengthening of regulations in financial transactions in the newly formed structural divisions of both federal and flagship universities; increased administrative workload on the management of structural subdivisions and scientific and pedagogical staff; prevalence of rationing transactions in the management hierarchies of universities.


Keywords: reforms in higher education; institutional change in higher education; Russia; federal universities; flagship universities; development strategies of the universities

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