Strategies in Universities: Tensions Between Macro Intentions and Micro Actions

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Victor Meyer Junior
Lucilaine Maria Pascuci
Bernardo Meyer


In the university setting, strategies take on a different configuration due to a permanent dispute between top administration and the academic sector. This triggers a conflict between macro intentions and micro actions at the academic level. In this study, we examined to what extent academic strategic actions are impacted by tensions triggered by the macro intentions of top management and micro actions in the academic management. This research is based on a comparative study involving three Brazilian universities. We identified key sources of tension between top managers and academic managers, such as organizational complexity, the political context, a loosely coupled structure and professional autonomy. The outcome revealed a difficult alignment between intentions and actions while relevant strategies were practiced in the academic sector. We concluded that managerial business models imported from the market led to dubious and controversial benefits in university management. Most strategies were represented by micro actions in the academic area derived from spontaneous initiatives, insights, hunches and non-intentional actions of academic managers and professors that had a considerable impact on the universities' academic performance.


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Meyer Junior, V., Pascuci, L. M., & Meyer, B. (1). Strategies in Universities: Tensions Between Macro Intentions and Micro Actions. Journal of Contemporary Administration, 22(2), 163-177.