Povl Tiedemann, Head of Department, Danish Business Economists
Merger and Profiling
How to maintain accredited brand and identity independence in a joint consortium with a non-accredited partner and continuing entity.
Gaining critical mass and volume concerning research and researchers, students, lecturers and professors, combined with viability in general, often involve establishment of co-operation like collaborative provision, consortia and direct commitment through merger.
Smaller and larger institutions – market driven business schools and classical universities, may find natural synergies through joint forces and ownership with full reciprocal commitment. This is of importance, specifically when operating on a worldwide scale.
However, when two or more institutions with full independent positioning, profile, identity and history are entering into such mutual commitments, accreditation may appear to be a critical issue between an accredited and a non-accredited institution - especially when the latter is the largest, the carrier of the main identity and being the continuing entity, e.g. a classical university.
Integration of institutions maintaining separate accreditation or an individual identity in general, will call for special merger models to ensure continued individual commitments and strengths, combined with the joint and scaled activities.
Dividing an “in-coming” and often smaller institution into bits and pieces to be absorbed by the continuing and often larger institution most certainly will eradicate the expected values added as well as the synergies of joint faculties.
To maintain accreditation together with brand and identity independence for the “in-coming” institution, it is imperative to:
Balance differences of mission and vision, aiming at full
constituting the basic business school accreditation elements and criteria to be supplemented by AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS.
Such demands may be difficult for the absorbing and continuing entity to accept and digest. However, through creation of the necessary platform and modus operandi to host the “in-coming” institution, the initial process and final consolidation may develop fruitfully, and with full complementary and synergy benefit.
Above institutions of great variety are joining forces commencing by 2007, based on a general “university / professional school” platform of independency and individuality created at AU for the ASB and DPU units.
The basic elements of this platform are deducted from above accreditation criteria, thus leading the way for similar merger initiatives – locally as well as internationally across institutional interests.
The initial inspiration for this process is presented on www.globalisering.dk and the driving force is maintained by www.vtu.dk, nourished by the attitude that students should be treated like quality demanding clients, and Business Schools - Universities should perform like customer oriented service providers on a global marketplace.
This development corresponds directly with the 10 may 2006 – position of the European Commission on how best to modernize Europe’s universities, comprising the proposal to allow universities greater autonomy and accountability, so that they can respond quickly to change.