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What Determines Success in World University Rankings? Analysis of Internal Governance and State Characteristics of Top 800 Universities in Europe

Claudio A. Rivera, Marta Muižniece
RTU Riga Business School

Abstract. Higher education governance reforms are the subject of discussion in many countries, including Latvia, due to globalization, implementation of new public management (NPM) practices, and increasing demand for quality from a broad spectrum of stakeholders. One of the critical changes in university internal governance is introducing executive boards, which support decision-making effectiveness and transparency. Competition between institutions has also driven a rise in the importance of World University Rankings (WUR), which, although criticized, provide a basis for comparison. This research aims to explore top European universities’ internal governance and residence countries’ characteristics to determine factors that contribute to success in WUR. This paper reveals the importance of introducing executive boards in the governance model through an in-depth analysis of internal governance and country-specific indicators of 97 universities from 17 European countries. The paper also argues that universities from countries with smaller GDP may engage more external stakeholders. The analysis shows that internal governance, residence country-specific indicators, and university characteristics as a whole have a long-term impact on universities’ success.

Keywords: university governance, university rankings, higher education reforms.

In: Human, Technologies and Quality of Education, 2022. Proceedings of Scientific Papers = Cilvēks, tehnoloģijas un izglītības kvalitāte, 2022. Rakstu krājums
Riga, University of Latvia, 2022. 1135 p. Ed. L. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-18-911-1