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Strategic planning and benchmarking organizational routines of universities in the Western Balkans

Antigoni Papadimitriou (Department of Educational Research, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 8 April 2014




There is currently limited knowledge of the strategic organizational routines such as strategic planning and benchmarking of universities in the Western Balkans (WB). Thus the purpose of this paper is to map perceptions and concerns of institutional leadership about these routines within the public and private universities in the region.


An online survey targeting all public and private universities in the WB was sent to the rector's and president's office. The survey data were analyzed with descriptive statistical methods, calculating frequencies, and means.


Data revealed that the majority of both public and private universities have implemented strategic planning. Analysis of strategic planning between private and public universities indicated that averages scores were slightly higher in the private rather than the public universities. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis was among the statements that received higher scores (perceptions about implementation) from both types of universities. The relatively low scores from both types of institutions concerning perceived implementation and importance of benchmarking might imply that WB universities achieve their goals in a less competitive environment.


The significance of the paper lies in the fact that no existing studies have investigated strategic planning and benchmarking in the WB universities. To be able to build a potential baseline for further research, including the possibility for more comparative research both within and beyond the region, the selection of routines was taken from the US Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for Performance Excellence in Education. This study contributes to the body of research for literature about strategic organizational routines and strategy-as-practice.



The study is funded by the Norwegian Research Council, and is part of the NORGLOBAL Project: “European Integration in Higher Education and Research in the Western Balkans.”


Papadimitriou, A. (2014), "Strategic planning and benchmarking organizational routines of universities in the Western Balkans", The TQM Journal, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 261-274.



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