Governance" or "Governing?"


  • David W. Leslie College of William and Mary


Higher Education, Governance, Political Theory, Bureaucratic Authority, Professional Authority


This paper draws on four perspectives on power and its exercise in organizations to analyze the practice of governing colleges and universities. I use political theories (particularly those assessing the legitimacy and effectiveness of stable political entities), leadership studies, analyses of how formal and informal organizations interact in the management of conflict, and analyses of the tension between bureaucratic and professional authority. My argument proposes that the processes of governing provide more useful data than structures of governance in understanding how college and university organizations manage conflict. I conclude that power, conceptualized more in Jeffersonian than Machiavellian terms, can form the central theme of a way to govern academic institutions-and has a far better chance of succeeding than any particular structural form.