Strategic planning in higher education institutions: what are the stakeholders’ roles in the process?

  • Júnia Maria Zandonade FalquetoEmail author
  • Valmir Emil Hoffmann
  • Ricardo Corrêa Gomes
  • Silvia Satiko Onoyama Mori


This article classifies and assigns degrees of influence to the stakeholders involved in the implementation of strategic planning at a Brazilian higher education institution. In order to test the stakeholder influence theory, we carried out a case study of a Brazilian university based on qualitative methods. The models of Frooman (Academy of Management Review, 24(2), 191–205, 1999) and Mitchell et al. (Academy of Management Review, 22(4), 853–886, 1997) served as the theoretical basis for assessing the stakeholders’ identification and management. Findings indicate that higher education institutions focus on the internal and external stakeholders that have the power to control them. In practice, this study provides insight into the stakeholder influences that have an effect on the implementation of strategic planning in a university. Based on the findings, university managers will be able to think more strategically about the institution’s objectives, taking into account the degree of influence that stakeholders have on the institution’s objectives.


Stakeholders Strategic planning Stakeholder theory University-stakeholder relationships 


Supplementary material

10734_2019_455_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 12 kb)


  1. Alarcón-del-Amo, M. C., Casablancas-Segura, C., & Llonch, J. (2016). Responsive and proactive stakeholder orientation in public universities: Antecedents and consequences. Higher Education, 72(2), 131–151.Google Scholar
  2. Andrade, J. C. S. (2002). Formação de estratégias socioambientais corporativas: os jogos Aracruz Celulose – Stakeholders. Revista de Administração Contemporânea, 6(2), 75–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Atkinson, A. A., Waterhouse, J. H., & Wells, R. B. (1997). A stakeholder approach to strategic performance measurement. Sloan Management Review, 38(3), 25–37.Google Scholar
  4. Balbachevsky, E. (2015). The role of internal and external stakeholders in Brazilian higher education. In S. Schwartzman, R. Pinheiro, & P. Pillay (Eds.), Higher education in the BRICS countries: Investigating the pact between higher education and society (pp. 193–214). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benneworth, P., & Jongbloed, B. W. (2010). Who matters to universities? A stakeholder perspective on humanities, arts and social sciences valorisation. Higher Education. Scholar
  6. Brasil. (2015). Censo da Educação Superior. Brasilia: INEP.Google Scholar
  7. Bryson, J. M. (1995). Strategic planning for public and non-profit organization. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Google Scholar
  8. Burrows, J. (1999). Going beyond labels: A framework for profiling institutional stakeholders. Contemporary Education, 70, 5–10.Google Scholar
  9. Cappiello, G., & Pedrini, G. (2017). The performance evaluation of corporate universities. Tertiary Education and Management, 23(3), 304–317. Scholar
  10. Casablancas-Segura, C., & Llonch, J. (2016). Responsive and proactive stakeholder orientation in public universities: Antecedents and consequences. Higher Education, 72(2), 131–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chapman, K. J., Meuter, M. L., Toy, D., & Wright, L. K. (2010). Are student groups dysfunctional? Perspectives from both sides of the classroom. Journal of Marketing Education, 32(1), 39–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Childress, L. K. (2009). Internationalization plans for higher education institutions. Journal of Studies in International Education, 13(3), 289–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Donaldson, T., & Preston, L. E. (1995). The stakeholder theory of the corporation: Concepts, evidences, and implications. Academy of Management Review, 20(1), 65–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Donina, D., & Paleari, S. (2019). New public management: Global reform script or conceptual stretching? Analysis of university governance structures in the Napoleonic administrative tradition. Higher Education, 78. Scholar
  15. Duke, C. R. (2002). Learning outcomes: Comparing student perceptions of skill level and importance. Journal of Marketing Education, 24(3), 203–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Etzkowitz, H. (2003). Innovation in innovation: The triple helix of university-industry government relations. Social Science Information, 42(3), 293–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Freeman, R. E. (1984). Strategic management: A stakeholder approach. Marshfield: Pitman.Google Scholar
  18. Freeman, E., & McVea, J. (2001). A stakeholder approach to strategic management. In M. Hitt, E. Freeman, & J. Harrison (Eds.), Handbook of strategic management. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
  19. Freeman, R. E., & Reed, D. L. (1983). Stockholders and stakeholders: A new perspective on corporate governance. California Management Review, 25(3), 88–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Frooman, J. (1999). Stakeholder influences strategies. Academy of Management Review, 24(2), 191–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ian, K. A., & Hjortsø, C. (2019). Sources of complexity in participatory curriculum development: An activity system and stakeholder analysis approach to the analyses of tensions and contradictions. Higher Education, 77, 1–22. Scholar
  22. Idenburg, P. J. (1993). Four styles of strategy development. Long Range Planning, 26(6), 132–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. James, M. A., & Derrick, G. E. (2019). When culture trumps strategy: Higher education institutional strategic plans and their influence on international student recruitment practice. Higher Education.
  24. Jarzabkowski, P., & Wolf, C. (2015). An activity theory approach to strategy as practice. In Cambridge handbook of strategy as practice (pp. 127–140). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Jongbloed, B., Enders, J., & Salerno, C. (2008). Higher education and its communities: Interconnections, interdependencies and a research agenda. Higher Education. Scholar
  26. Kettunen, J. (2015). Stakeholder relationships in higher education. Tertiary Education and Management, 21(1), 56–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lopes, L.A.C., & Bernardes, F.R. (2005). Estruturas administrativas das universidades brasileiras. VIII Seminários de Administração –SEMEAD proceedings.Google Scholar
  28. Lyra, M. G., Gomes, R. C., & Jacovine, L. A. G. (2009). Stakeholder management and organizational sustainability: A Brazilian case study from the forestry sector. Revista de Administração Contemporânea, 13(special), 39–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mainardes, E. W., Alves, H., Raposo, M., & Domingues, M. J. (2010). Categorização por importância dos stakeholders das universidades. Revista Ibero Americana de Estratégia, 9(3), 4–43.Google Scholar
  30. Mainardes, E. W., Raposo, M., & Alves, H. (2014). Universities need a market orientation to attract non-traditional stakeholders as new financing sources. Public Organization Review, 14(2), 159–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. McCune, S. D. (1986). Guide to Strategic Planning for Educators. Edited by Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Alexandria: Publication Sales.Google Scholar
  32. Miller, K., McAdam, M., & McAdam, R. (2014). The changing university business model: A stakeholder perspective. R&D Management, 44(3), 265–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mintzberg, H. (1987). Crafting strategy. Harvard Business Review, july-august, 66–75.Google Scholar
  34. Mitchell, R. K., Agle, B. R., & Wood, D. J. (1997). Toward a theory of stakeholder identification and salience: Defining the principle of the who and what really counts. Academy of Management Review, 22(4), 853–886.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Morphew, C. C., Fumasoli, T., & Stensaker, B. (2018). Changing missions? How the strategic plans of research-intensive universities in northern Europe and North America balance competing identities. Studies in Higher Education, 43(6), 1074–1088. Scholar
  36. Najan, A. (1995). Learning from the literature on policy implementation: A synthesis perspective (working paper WP-95-61). Laxenburg: International Institute for Applied Systems analysis.Google Scholar
  37. Neave, G. (2000). The Universities’ Responsibilities to Society: International perspectives. Issues in Higher Education Series: ERIC.Google Scholar
  38. Neuendorf, K. A. (2016). The content analysis guidebook. Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar
  39. Oliva, E. J. D. (2009). La gestión de la universidad como elemento básico del sistema universitario: una reflexión desde la perspectiva de los stakeholders. Innovar. Revista de Ciencias Administrativas y Sociales, (1), 25–41.Google Scholar
  40. Pavičić, J., Alfirević, N., & Mihanović, Z. (2009). Market orientation in managing relationships with multiple constituencies of Croatian higher education. Higher Education, 57(2), 191–207Google Scholar
  41. Pinheiro, R. (2015). The role of internal and external stakeholders. In Higher education in the BRICS countries (pp. 43–57). New Ypurk: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pinheiro, R., Charles, D., & Jones, G. (2017). Translating strategy, values and identities in higher education: The case of multi-campus systems. Tertiary Education and Management, 23(1), 1–4. Scholar
  43. Reavill, L. R. P. (1998). Quality assessment, total quality management and the stakeholders in the UK higher education system. Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, 8(1), 55–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sam, C., & Dahles, H. (2017). Stakeholder involvement in the higher education sector in Cambodia. Studies in Higher Education, 42(9), 1764–1784.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sampaio, R. M., & Laniado, R. N. (2009). Uma experiência de mudança da gestão universitária: o percurso ambivalente entre proposições e realizações. Revista de Administração Pública, 43, 151–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Savage, G. T., Nix, T. W., Whitehead, C. J., & Blair, J. D. (1991). Strategies for assessing and managing organizational stakeholders. Academy of Management Executive, 5(2), 61–75.Google Scholar
  47. Sin, C., & Neave, G. (2016). Employability deconstructed: Perceptions of Bologna stakeholders. Studies in Higher Education, 41(8), 1447–1462. Scholar
  48. Sucozhanay, D., Santos, E., Witte, K. D., & Euwema, M. (2016). A stakeholder management approach for university change: A case study in Latin America. INTED2016 proceedings.Google Scholar
  49. Universidade de Brasília. (2018). Resultados do PDI anterior (2014–2017). Resource document. Universidade de Brasília. Retrieved from Accessed 28 Dec 2018.
  50. Vos, J. F. (2003). Corporate social responsibility and the identification of stakeholders. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 10(3), 141–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Yang, R. (2015). Cost sharing in China’s higher education: Analyses of major stakeholders. In Higher education in the BRICS countries (pp. 237–251). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Yin, R. K. (2017). Case study research and applications: Design and methods. Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Business AdministrationUniversity of BrasíliaBrasíliaBrazil
  2. 2.Genetics Resource and Biotechnology- Embrapa, Parque Estação Biológica- PqEBBrasíliaBrazil

Personalised recommendations