From taking decisions to receiving information: Changes in board meeting minutes at Swedish universities




educational leadership, governance, higher education, institutional management, university boards


This study investigates the praxis of university boards by analysing minutes from Swedish universities before and after an autonomy reform that, among other things, changed the board compositions in favour of external members. To ultimately improve higher education policy and paint a more complete picture of the operational side of governance arrangements at Swedish universities, we analyse how institutional management has changed over time. The study identifies orientations and allocations enacted in university board work and communicated in minutes from 2008 and 2018, separated by the autonomy reform of 2011. Results show a shift over time from taking decisions to receiving information, accompanied by a shift in the orientation of decisions regarding education and research to decisions on operation and interaction with society. During this period, external board members became increasingly dominant. Comparing board meeting attendance showed that external members were absent from more meetings than members that represented academic staff and students. The changing function and composition of university boards, combined with strong line management and decollegialisation, raises questions of whether and how the experience of academic core activities, peer quality management, and critical thinking contribute to shaping the policy, praxis, and institutional management of higher education.




How to Cite

Reneland-Forsman, L., & Forsman, A. (2024). From taking decisions to receiving information: Changes in board meeting minutes at Swedish universities. Journal of Praxis in Higher Education, 6(4), 70–96.



Research Articles (peer-reviewed)