University Governance: Lessons From an Innovative Design for Collaboration

André L. Delbecq, John M Bryson, Andrew H. van de Ven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The "Reflections on Experience" section of the June 2009 issue of the Journal of Management Inquiry contained six articles examining the challenges associated with contemporary university governance and called for new theory and approaches. In this article, we respond by reporting one university's innovative governance design that provides an imaginative alternative to the traditional bicameral model of the board of trustees (or governing board) and administration, and the faculty senate. Its collaborative model utilizes intermediate-sized, competency-based, and representative joint policy committees as the central means of formulating strategy. Outcomes of this alternative approach include greater trust, better and more timely decisions, and a reduction in intraorganizational conflict. We conclude that the approach merits attention as an alternative to the bicameral model and that management studies can help improve higher education governance research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-392
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Management Inquiry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: An internal grant from the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University partially supported the research and writing of this article.


  • collaboration
  • conflict management
  • governance
  • innovation


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