The Impact of Recent Reforms on the Institutional Governance of French Universities - Sciences Po Access content directly
Book Sections Year : 2014

The Impact of Recent Reforms on the Institutional Governance of French Universities


It is usual to identify France as a latecomer in New Public Management (NPM). As stressed by P. Bezes (2003 and 2009 ), while the souci de soi of the French state has always been present and the reform of the management of French public administration has been a recurrent objective during the Fifth Republic, it is only in the late 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s that the NPM doctrine really diffused into the French public system. The important transformations experienced by the higher education system until then (Musselin 2001[2004]) could therefore not be analysed as a consequence of NPM (Musselin and Paradeise 2009). The introduction of NPM methods and solutions in French administration, now in place for a decade, first reached universities in mid-2000 when the new budgetary process that was introduced into French public administration (the LOLF, Loi organique sur les lois de finances ) was also implemented in public higher education institutions. In order to negotiate their budget, they now have to set objectives and indicators that will then be used to measure the achievement of these objectives a year later, when they will write a report about the past year. Further major changes, which will be described below, were introduced after 2005. They not only brought in new instruments and devices to the management of French universities (more competitive processes, performance-based allocation of resources, empowerment of university leaders, etc.), but more broadly affected some of the principles on which the French university system was built and, in particular, the egalitarian principles that maintained a rather low differentiation among French academics and among French universities and the grades they delivered. The aim of this chapter is, therefore, primarily to describe the governance of French universities after the introduction of the recent reforms and answer the following questions: did these changes affect the governance of French universities or did they resist the transformations that aimed at strengthening the presidents, increasing project-based research and providing them with more autonomy and responsibility ?
No file

Dates and versions

hal-03114976 , version 1 (17-03-2022)


Attribution - NonCommercial - ShareAlike



Stéphanie Chatelain-Ponroy, Stephanie Mignot Gerard, Christine Musselin, Samuel Sponem. The Impact of Recent Reforms on the Institutional Governance of French Universities. Michael Shattock. International Trends in University Governance, Routledge, pp.67 - 88, 2014, 9780415842907. ⟨hal-03114976⟩


27 View
0 Download


Gmail Facebook X LinkedIn More