Essay Example on External Forces that Shape Higher Education

Published: 2021-08-11
699 words
3 pages
6 min to read
Carnegie Mellon University
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Management and decision making in higher learning institutions are no longer done by the internal alone. In the recent past, there have been numerous external forces that influence the decision-making process in advanced systems. Given the fact most of these institutions have started concentrating on the large-scale production of the public, they have garnered a lot of attention from external forces which have taken control of the decision-making processes. The motive of these institutions to enlarge customer orientation, create a performance culture and encourage public accountability indicates the manifestation of a change in the management system. Professional autonomy and pluralism are currently being replaced by standards and indicators. The reductionist approach that is championed by the external forces aims to remove the difference to enhance the predictability of outcome and action. This paper discusses some of the outer forces that are currently shaping higher education.

Numerous external forces are currently influencing the decision making processes in higher institutions of learning. Some of these forces are some officials at all levels of government, corporations and their representatives, professional organizations, parents, federal legislation and court orders and the media. Government officials usually make decisions depending on various concerns raised by these institutions. For instance, the U.S. recession of the early 1980s ignited public economic interests, particularly those of business leaders ("External Relations," 2015). Influential leaders who were economic conscious and who viewed education has a key to a stronger financial future raised numerous concerns about the status of education during that period. This practice has continued up to date with some government officials who view education as a key to economic growth have played an integral role in the promotion of new accountability initiatives and provision of incentives to ignite improvement in higher learning institutions. Corporations and their representatives have also influenced the policies in higher education by offering advice to the elected officials about rules of school through their organizations such as the Business Roundtable.

Parents and professional organizations also play an integral role in making policies that govern schools and in dealing with issues that might require their attention. For instance, education and professional associations usually lobby federal and state lawmakers regarding policy decisions that schools make ("External Relations," 2015). Parents typically analyze the quality of education that their children receive and raise complain when they are not satisfied with what their children get. In the process, higher education learning institutions must provide quality services to the students and listen to the concerns raised by the parents. Concerns about equity that stem from activities of federal legislation organized groups, and court orders also influence the decisions made by the institutions of higher learning such as the curriculum they offer, resource allocation, etc. Civil rights groups also exert an external force on higher education when they lobby state legislators for modifications of education funding to ensure that the services provided by teachers are of quality. Media also plays an integral role in influencing the decision making processes of institutions of higher education. The information conveyed by the media shapes the perception of the public about these organizations hence they have to ensure that they respond to what media presents to the public, mainly if it damages their image. For instance, the widespread U.S. media coverage of the findings of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study informed the public that the performance of the U.S. student in those subjects was dismal as compared to the performances of other students coming from countries that are regarded as the U.S. economic competitors (Mullis, Martin, & Jones, 2015).

In summary, external forces play an integral role in the operation of higher education institutions. They help in ensuring that students receive a quality education, standard policies are used in running such schools, and the right amount of budget is allocated to them. Above all, parents play an integral role in the operation of these institutions. Most of the decisions made by these schools must be accredited by the parents.


External Relations. (2015). Higher Education Abstracts, 50(1), 15-17. doi:10.1111/hea.12037_14

Mullis, I. V., Martin, M. O., & Jones, L. (2015). Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Encyclopedia of Science Education, 1075-1079. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-2150-0_515

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