In the literature, there are many methods that can be helpful in strategic management of universities. Some of them are related to the aspect of sustainability, in terms of balancing the level of fulfillment of different, often conflicting objectives, which must be considered when building strategies. These methods include product/service portfolio ones. However, their use is often intuitive and detached from the quantitative aspects of management. The purpose of this paper is to present a proposal of the modification of the portfolio methods through the use of one of discrete optimization problems, namely, the multiple knapsack problem. The proposal is applied to a selected university. The results are presented and discussed.
The research methodology consists in a conceptual work: combining non-quantitative portfolio methods used in strategic management and the quantitative multiple knapsack problem. The analogy is established between a market sector (capacity) and a knapsack (capacity), a university department value and an object value, the university improvement budget and a knapsack, an object cost and an improvement measure cost. Then, the case study is used to conduct an initial validation of the proposed approach.
A quantitative model for strategic management of university as a whole or university departments is proposed. It allows to plan and control the application of improvement measures, allowing the university units to take on a better position in the educational market. It has been initially applied to a small university.
The model requires much more real-world case studies. Also, it will usually be difficult to establish the cost of running individual university units as well as the cost of corrective measures. The capacity of knapsacks – here of market sectors – will also be difficult to calculate. The method to be used here is activity-based costing, but it will not solve all the problems immediately, as its practical application is difficult.
The proposed model will allow to plan and evaluate strategic changes of university as a whole and its units’ position using quantitative values and to consider various strategic scenarios.
In order to establish the data necessary to construct the model, various stakeholders will have to cooperate (the university promotion department, the accounting representatives, the student and industry representatives etc.), probably for the first time. Such cooperation will improve the university position even if the model itself will not be able to be applied immediately.
The link between portfolio methods and a quantitative optimization method for university management purposes has been established in the paper for the first time in the literature.
Kuchta, D., Rynca, R., Skorupka, D. and Duchaczek, A. (2019), "The use of the multiple knapsack problem in strategic management of a private Polish university: Case study", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 335-358. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-03-2017-0068Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited