A. Bargaoanu, L. Radu

National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (ROMANIA)
The paper aims at analyzing how today’s universities succeed in building successful managerial strategies that would give them the possibility to survive in an ever complex environment. Globalization, innovation management, knowledge economy, population aging, budgetary constraints are only a few of the challenges that universities must address in order to position themselves in a highly competitive market. Our plea is that, in order to cope with all these challenges, universities have to use – now more than ever – the tools and methodologies that are employed by successful corporations. This implies the fact that, under the pressure of both internal and external forces, universities have to behave as ”knowledge corporations”, led by professional managers who employ well-defined tools in order to identify the university’s strategic map and in order to boost its competitiveness.

In order to test this assumption, we have implemented a research project that consisted in two key phases. In the first phase, we have focused on reviewing some of the most comprehensive research done in strategic planning, and we have selected those tools and methods that are most appropriate for universities. We have looked at a rather vast literature on this topic, including the design of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats SWOT Analysis (Humphrey, 2005), the definition of the organizational mission, vision, and values (Lipton, 1996; Kaplan & Norton, 2009; Schein, 2010), the identification of the organization’s core competences (Prahalad&Hamel, 1990), and the competitive positioning of organizations (Porter, 2008). In the second phase, we have used the strategic planning methods and tools in order to develop our university’s strategy for the 2013-2020 period. The whole process has lasted for 6 months and included 3 strategic planning workshops, 10 interviews with management representatives, and 3 focus groups with students and industry representatives. Our project confirms that professional strategic planning is emblematic for the development of universities, as it could positively influence the university’s performance in both strategic and academic terms.