To read this content please select one of the options below:

Balancing financial autonomy and control in agencification: Issues emerging from the Indonesian higher education

Budi Waluyo (Department of Financial Management, Polytechnic of State Finance STAN, Tangerang Selatan, Indonesia)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 4 June 2018

Issue publication date: 24 July 2018




The purpose of this paper is to explore the practices of financial autonomy and control the emerging issue of agencification in the higher education sector.


The practices are investigated using case studies from seven semi-autonomous state universities in Indonesia. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 17 respondents including university officials, policymakers, and experts. The interview results were analysed using an inductive-deductive approach.


This research highlights an unstable balance between financial autonomy and control practices in the universities. Autonomy supports agencification mainly by simplifying financial procedures and control is seen by university managers to be overemphasised compared to in the other state universities. Despite successes in introducing a business-like atmosphere within bureaucratic universities, questions about balancing financial autonomy and control remain.

Research limitations/implications

The small number of cases implies limited generalisability. The two characteristics used, size and parent ministries do not represent all university variabilities.

Practical implications

Agencification has become a key reform practice for state universities. Rather than using a “one size fits all” approach, the government needs a repertoire of models for these institutions.


This study provides empirical evidence of agencification in the higher education sector with an emphasis on the financial dimension of autonomy and control in a developing country setting.



This research was funded by the Polytechnic of State Finance STAN, Finance Education and Training Agency (BPPK), and the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (Lembaga Pengelola Dana Pendidikan, LPDP) of the Ministry of Finance. The author wish to acknowledge helpful comments from Sandra van Thiel (Radboud University), Hendrik Vollmer and Ulrike Marx (University of Leicester), Lena Rethel (University of Warwick), Riani Rachmawati (University of Indonesia), Rahmadi Murwanto and Agus Sunarya Sulaeman (Polytechnic of State Finance STAN) and the two anonymous reviewers. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 20th IRSPM Conference (Hong Kong, April 2016).


Waluyo, B. (2018), "Balancing financial autonomy and control in agencification: Issues emerging from the Indonesian higher education", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 31 No. 7, pp. 794-810.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles