Managing universities with the Dunlop principle

managing university with the Dunlop principles

In the business world, there is a lot of literature on how to run a company.  Some literature written by experts in their fields, contains matters related to business ownership, failure analysis and how to manage these failures. However, the literature does not explicitly mention the difference between universities and companies in terms of business management. In the management of business in the company far more obstacles are associated with rapid change of direction, agreement, development, merger, sales, security from product decline and as well as staffing. These things are not contained in the management component of the university.

In the face of the fact of declining ratings, the speed of giving reactions is what is important in bringing about change. Universities that react immediately and correctly in response to the fact that the ratings decrease will show an improvement in the future. Conversely, universities that do not respond will find it difficult to make changes. Management changes at all levels of management that are done quickly and appropriately will be better than expecting improvements in some individuals in the organization.

The University can use the four Dunlop principles that companies have been using in anticipation of change. The Dunlop Principle is aimed at achieving the successful management of the company; 1) correct management, 2) obtaining results (money), 3) improving balance by focusing effort, and 4) the right strategy to achieve success. With some modifications of dunlop principles can be implemented in the management of the university.

Dunlop’s four principles seem simple, but that is where the power lies so that it’s easy to practice in “business”. The application of the four principles of Dunlop in the university is not simple. This is due to the legal complexity of the rules or legislation that apply in universities and if hasty actions are taken, it will lead to counterproduction in unstable conditions. This first principle sets a good example for universities that have suffered serious setbacks or actually experienced failures due to dysfunctional management structures.

An example of what happened at university ‘X’ where dysfunction has become endemic.  The clerk and treasurer acted as the most critical senior chief professor of the previous regime, working with junior administrators and then entering into a new agreement. The ministry performed shows that the institution is incapable of saving itself, because the entire decision-making structure has been infected by a state that is incapable of acting without a strong central direction.

If we look at how a large communication gap occurs between the central authority office (rectorate) and the academic community. The transfer or change of rectorate is carried out without balanced changes so as to produce vacuums and deviations due to the absence of followers of the new leadership. In coping with this condition may be by forming a structure to fill the gap (gap) that occurs. This is important because good leadership and management teams require legitimacy in a university context.

Both are effective (leadership and management teams) on the application of unstable conditions, if they involve the entire academic community. This is not only to ensure that the decisions taken are academically minded, but it will be difficult to make decisions if the academy community believes that the decision was taken by a small percentage of community representatives. High production costs and complicated bureaucracy are also two things that must be eliminated. We can look for other alternatives, for example by moving all leaders who are professional but are outside the system and then put them in a leadership position with the help of senior academics who have passion but lack professional experience, but they know the task and how to do it.

Learning from the above case we can understand that changes in the management team can improve the situation or vice versa. When changes have been made even for a moment it may result in false hope that setbacks can be eliminated, when institutional setbacks or academic failures of a natural nature such as negligent habits (in management) will become remarkable because of the loss of the firmness of academic rules that are usually all images of administrative problems. Faced with such problems, of course, institutional management must be a fixed hierarchy and executive power is more concentrated or given to some people (a few) which will give rise to other aspects such as life changes that seem more prominent.

In the university fee reduction scheme, of course, better results will be obtained than the reduction in costs carried out simply. By doing a cost reduction scheme, it will increase the return of discipline and proper attitude. Simplicity and austerity are not merely symbolic things but there must be good determination and rules. Good management will always require investment from new sources to support success or to start a new business or activity. A source of funds that are not bound for investment indicates a precarious situation in any management.  Forming and updating the academic world at a university must be the key to changing failures or withstanding setbacks.  And this cannot be achieved unless the management of the institution is improved, and funds can be obtained from new investments.

Facing difficult choices in taking a policy forward, of course, we must review the strengths and weaknesses we have. Only then do we decide what actions we should take, whether to strengthen existing strengths or perhaps correct weaknesses or even eliminate those weaknesses. For this reason, we may be able to consider what Shattock (1992) found, who said that a group called the ‘gang of four’ was formed where this group consisted of people who were experienced in academia but not attached to certain interests who then made observations by interviewing several weak academic units to further conclude what appropriate actions needed to be taken. In addition, we can also use other alternatives by using expert consultants in providing input and direction.

One of the most significant differences between a company and a university lies in the problems of its staff. A setback in research performance is usually associated with the failure of the productivity of individual research staff. Generally, if one failure occurs, it will be difficult for individuals to recreate the fighting spirit (work) of research which is very necessary to be renewed. In special cases there is a relative ease of identifying high performance and low performance but to determine the potential form is much more difficult. Even when a conclusion is reached, it must be consolidated and informed by the conclusions regarding the material or teaching needs, the quality and determining factors of student admission with estimates from sources that may be available. This leads us to various aspects, for example, aspects of financial management.

Setbacks cannot be contained, and institutions cannot make improvements without a significant investment. Additional costs are also necessary for equipment financing, academic renewals or to improve productivity by cutting temporary surcharges at universities. Another way to increase productivity almost always includes the inclusion of active staff in research institutions with the provision of leadership souls by seniors.  Even when the university has cash available for redundancy costs (early retirement offers) it can be done to maintain opportunities for a year or more to regenerate capabilities and prepare active replacement personnel, especially in research institutions.

Institutions or departments that are in decline are also not always able to make provisions to manage existing setback conditions. If you make too many decisions, it will select weaknesses, thus making things worse because it is not careful and responsive enough to the actual facts to know the scale of the problem, so that there is a serious danger to institutions that are trapped in a spiral and very difficult to revoke themselves.

External voices may have a rule of play in cultural change contained in the message that is made clearly and understandably and can be sent to all the main components of institutional management, while in companies with strong leadership and determined by the executive leadership will be able to face change, while in universities much depends on individual commitment to achieve success so as to overcome setbacks or process  Failure to require political abilities in addition to managerial ability. Colleagues need to be reassured that the failures and setbacks that occur will give the impetus to rise again and the updates made are the sacrifices that will be asked.


Shattock, Michael (2004). Managing Successful Universities, The Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press.

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