Mergers of universities in the context of increased economic autonomy

Keywords: alliance, economic autonomy, single entity, merger, collaboration, competitiveness of universities, contractual/subsidiary merger arrangements, optimization and concentration of resources, reconfiguration


Globalization, internationalization, mass higher education, integration and competition of universities enhance a necessity of development of a new higher education strategy to ensure university autonomy, while strengthening universities’ engagement in a regional economy by optimizing and concentrating all resources. University merger is one possible mechanisms of this process assurance. The essence of merger and collaboration terms is found out.

The institutional and system-level reasons for mergers have been defined. Reasons for activation process of mergers at the system-level are: efficiency and sustainability of higher education system, international competition (more stable and competitive institutions with high quality of higher education in the international community), division of labour. At the institutional level they are: university market position of in regional, national and international contexts, increased quality of higher education, and increased competitiveness of universities.

Among higher education institutions that are financially vulnerable, merger is a survival strategy. Among financially healthy institutions the aim of mergers is differentiation, performance enhancement, or in the expectation that greater size will yield cost savings through economies of scale. The types and kinds of mergers of higher education institutions are investigated. Types of mergers include: voluntary and involuntary, single-sector and cross-sectoral, two-partner and multi-partner, similar and different academic profile, mergers aimed at a federal or unitary structure. There are kinds of mergers: horizontal, vertical, diversification and conglomerate.

Features of mergers in Sweden, where this process is initiated «bottom up» and in Wales, where merger is initiated «top-down» have been analysed. It is necessary to make proper feasibility study, prepare a Memorandum of Understanding, conduct a due diligence of institutions, prepare a merger delivery plan and implementation strategy for successful merger implementation.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Inna Vlasova, Institute of higher education NAPS of Ukraine

Candidate of Economic Sciences(Ph.D), Docent


Bladh, A. (2012). Nordic mergers. A way to strengthen universities in a competitive environment. Leadership and governance in higher education. 4. 1–22.

Cardiff University. Retrieved from

Education Reform Act (1988). Retrieved from /ukpga_19880040_en.pdf.

European university association (2015). Define thematic report: University mergers in Europe. Retrieved from %202%20university% 20mergers%20in%20europe.pdf.

Further and Higher Education Act (1992). Retrieved from

Harman, G & Harman, K. (2003). Institutional Mergers in Higher Education: Lessons from International Experience. Tertiary Education and Management. 9. 29–44.

HEFCE (2012). Collaborations, alliances and mergers in higher education. Consultation on lessons learned and guidance for institutions. Retrieved from

HEPI (2012). Universities and constitutional change in the UK: the impact of devolution on the higher education sector. Retrieved from

Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (2011). Future Structure of Universities in Wales. Retrieved from 1.pdf.

Jones K. (2013). Sink or Swim? Tips for surviving politically-led mergers from Wales. Leadership and governance in higher education. 4. 17-41.

Kyvik, S (2002). The merger of non-university colleges in Norway. Higher Education, Vol. 44, № 1. 53–72.

Linnaeus University. Retrieved from

Parthenon-EY Education Practice (2016), Strength in Numbers: Strategies for Collaborating in a New Era for Higher Education, Ernst and Young, New York. Retrieved from education_collaboration_report/$File/EY-Parthenon_Strength-inNumbers-Collaboration Strategies_Final_singles_082016.pdf.

Skodvin, O. (2014). Merger as an Instrument to achieve Quality in Higher Education – Rhetoric or Reality? Retrieved from 98e9675673cceda1/skodvin_ole-jacob_merger_as_an_instrument_to_achieve_quality_in_ higher_education_rhetoric_or_reality_082014.pdf.

University of South Wales. Retrieved from

University of Wales, Cardiff Act 2004. Retrieved from

Utbildningsdepartementet (Ministry of Education and Research). Retrieved from

Welsh Assembly Government (2002). Reaching higher: higher education and The Learning Country : a strategy for the higher education sector in Wales. Retrieved from

Welsh Assembly Government (2006). The Learning country: delivering on the promise. Retrieved from

Welsh Assembly Government (2009). For our future: The 21st century higher education strategy and plan for Wales. Retrieved from

Welsh government (2013). Policy statement on higher education. Retrieved from

Williams, J. (2017), Collaboration, alliance, and merger among higher education institutions, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 160, OECD Publishing, Paris.

Abstract views: 210
PDF Downloads: 187
How to Cite
Vlasova, I. (2018). Mergers of universities in the context of increased economic autonomy. International Scientific Journal of Universities and Leadership, (6), 117-133.