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Evaluation and control process in higher education institutions: a comparative analysis

Joaquim Mourato (Centro de Investigação para Valorização dos Recursos Endógenos (VALORIZA-IPP) and Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia (CIES-IUL), Instituto Politécnico de Portalegre, Portalegre, Portugal)
Maria Teresa Patrício (Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia (CIES-IUL), ISCTE-Instituto Universitario de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal)

Quality Assurance in Education

ISSN: 0968-4883

Article publication date: 18 June 2019

Issue publication date: 11 July 2019




The purpose of this paper is to study the evaluation and control processes in the governance systems of higher education institutions (HEIs).


This study compares the performance and control processes of strategic management in four HEIs in two European countries with binary systems – Portugal and The Netherlands. Using a case study approach, the authors find that HEIs with different missions and contexts have performance and control systems that are generally indistinguishable.


The controlling strategies in the public HEIs have taken on isomorphic characteristics based on processes that enhance competition, decentralize functions and solidify performance management.


In this paper, the authors “unpackage” strategic management to focus on the forms of control associated with performance evaluation. Performance evaluation is central to the management process and increasingly assuming an integral part of the institution’s identity and culture.



The authors thank Ben Jongbloed, at CHEPS, UT, as well as the interviewees at the UT, Saxion UAS, ISCTE-IUL and the IPP.

Financial support was provided from the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and supported by the European Social Fund (POCH).


Mourato, J. and Patrício, M.T. (2019), "Evaluation and control process in higher education institutions: a comparative analysis", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 269-284.



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