A. Bargaoanu, E. Negrea, L. Radu

National School of Political and Administrative Studies (ROMANIA)
Global economy is increasingly a knowledge economy, making people’s skills and qualifications more important than traditional, hard power indicators such as territory, geographical position, and natural resources. Today’s global environment is characterized by complexity, turbulence and perpetual change, thus making information, innovation, technological prowess and people’s skills the most valuable resources of any society. The traditional system of education appears to be inadequate to keep up with the speed of developments and to come up with quick solutions. Surviving, performing and thriving on the global market largely depend on the capacity of the education system to adapt to the multiple changes in the environment.

We cannot think of a single field that has not faced yet the transformations triggered by marketisation and global competitiveness. Higher education is no exception; it is already swept up in the global marketisation of education. Acting as both objects and agents of globalization, higher education institutions (HEIs) need to redefine their functional and management strategies in order to survive and thrive under circumstances of complexity and constant change. In other words, given the reinvention of the global world, HEIs must reinvent themselves accordingly. There are many aspects related to HEIs that may undergo the process of reinvention; we shall focus our attention on the management of universities. There is no surprise that universities must turn to a different managerial approach if they seek a higher rate of success and a high degree of competitiveness on the market. Universities need strategic management instead of adjusting internal activities to external pressures. We believe that universities should not be looking too much or too far for a new strategic management approach. The solution we put forward here is that project management is sufficiently complex and adaptable to be considered as an explicit organizational strategy for universities. It has been acknowledged that universities should start consider themselves as firms; they have been described as “knowledge-intensive organizations” during the public services reform in the UK, given their relative high degree of strategic and operational autonomy in comparison to other institutions. Once it embraces project management as an organizational strategy, the performance of a university can be assessed in terms of its project orientation. We introduce the concept of “project-oriented university” as an indicator of a university’s project management maturity. The concept inherits the solid conceptual core of a fully-fledged model of an organization in terms of project management maturity (i.e. project-oriented organization). Thus, it lends itself well to being applied by universities in their continuing efforts to meet the demands of the globalization of education.