Transnational Governance of the University Field. The Travel of Global Ideas & the Role of Intermediary Organizations

Type Research Project

Funding Bodies

Duration Jan. 1, 2016 - Dec. 31, 2020

  • Institute for Nonprofit Management IN (Details)
  • Institute for Organization Studies IN (Details)


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  • Meyer, Michael (Details)
  • Meyer, Renate (Details) Project Head
  • Oberg, Achim (Former researcher)
  • Semper, Daniel (Details)

Abstract (English)

This project is conducted under the lead of the Stockholm School of Economics (project leader: Filip Wijkström).
The study focuses on the role of transnational and national intermediary organizations in the governance and regulation of an increasingly global university field, relating thus directly to the Call¿s request for contributions on ¿the organization of research and higher education¿. Our aim is to systematically analyse the role of such intermediaries in their position to bridge institutional and organizational borders. In focus are the processes through which global ideas on the function and position of the university in society are circulated by transnational intermediaries; picked up and adopted by intermediaries in the national systems; and on the journey are adjusted and translated to fit the institutional specificities of these systems.
Our theoretical framework combines new institutional organization theory with a strategic action field approach. The empirical study has an integrated multi-method design combining: cluster analysis and database construction using an innovative webcrawling technique; semantic network analysis; qualitative in-depth comparative case studies (in Sweden and Austria). By analysing the role of intermediary organizations as a link between transnationally circulated ideas on the function and position of the university and the domestic university systems, we will contribute new knowledge on the core conditions for shaping, organizing and governing research and higher education in society, today and tomorrow.


  • Stockholm School of Economics - Sweden


Journal article

2015 Sahlin, Kerstin, Wijkström, Filip, Dellmuth, Lisa, Einarsson, Torbjörn, Oberg, Achim. 2015. The 'Milky Way' of intermediary organisations: a transnational field of university governance. Policy & Politics 43 (3), 407-424. (Details)

Paper presented at an academic conference or symposium

2019 Oberg, Achim. 2019. Big Data in Science and Higher Education Research: The Case of Intermediaries in Higher Education. INCHER Research Colloquium, Kassel, Deutschland, 16.01.-16.01. Invited Talk (Details)
  Oberg, Achim, Semper, Daniel, Reuter, Marta, Wijkstrom, Filip. 2019. Field Configuring Events as Strings of Events. UniGov Symposium, Wien, Österreich, 05.12.-06.12. (Details)
  Semper, Daniel, Oberg, Achim, Meyer, Michael, Schoellhorn, Tino, Wijkstrom, Filip. 2019. Front-Stage vs. Backstage Issue Framing: Uncovering Hidden Effects in Field Processes. UniGov Symposium, Wien, Österreich, 05.12.-06.12. (Details)
  Oberg, Achim, Schöllhorn, Tino, Meyer, Renate. 2019. Networks and Topics of Higher Education Intermediaries on the WWW. 32nd Annual Conference of the Consortium for Higher Education Researchers (CHER), Kassel, Deutschland, 28.08.-30.08. Invited Talk (Details)
  Oberg, Achim, Schoellhorn, Tino, Meyer, Renate, Meyer, Michael, Semper, Daniel, Reuter, Marta. 2019. Third Mission in Online Debates. UniGov Symposium, Wien, Österreich, 05.12.-06.12. (Details)