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

Paradigm shift in higher education?

Vesa Taatila (Turku University of Applied Sciences, Turku, Finland)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to widen the discussion about the ongoing paradigm shift in global higher education.


The paper discusses and gives examples on several major changes and potential future developments within higher education.


Several major changes have taken place within higher education in a short time. Financial restraints leading to shorter accountability periods, mass education and research, as well as increased competition through e-enhanced globalization, have changed the field of higher education profoundly. It simultaneously faces requirements to produce a higher level of competence, shorten the implementation periods and to offer this to an increasing number of participants with fewer resources. Thus, it should be considered if the mission of higher education institutions has changed and what that mission should be.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is written from a culturally limited point of view (Finland/Nordic countries/Europe) and does not rely on empirical research findings.

Social implications

The potential paradigm shift has major social implications globally. It may change the way we understand and operate higher education during the next few decades.


A lot of the presented ideas have been discussed before in other articles. However, the potential implications as a whole have not yet been adequately discussed in scientific processes.



Taatila, V. (2017), "Paradigm shift in higher education?", On the Horizon, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 103-108.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles