Purpose of Missions and Goals
Stanley Fish acknowledges that mission and goals are supposed to direct an organization (Fish, 2007). By this he implied that a university can develop mission statements which communicate the intentions of the organization. Thus, according to him universities mission’s statements and goals must give a direction on pursuit and dissemination of knowledge. He further noted that it is the role of every individual to comply with the university’s mission. On the other hand, Birnbaum’s has noted that the purpose of mission statement for any organization is to bring clarity and accountability on the organizations next course. For profit making organizations, the purpose of mission and goals is to make money. However, for universities, the purpose goes beyond dissemination of knowledge but also to establish clarity on administration. Clear missions and goals help avoid unnecessary conflicts, and eases management.
Fish admits that the universities need stakeholders in order to meet their goals. However, there must be clear rules and guidelines on involvement of stakeholders. By fully engaging the stakeholders through pre-outlined guidelines, the stakeholders will keep and adhere to the goals and the values of organization. Thus with clear purpose, goals and mission, the stakeholders can engage and partner with the university in ways that upholds the university integrity and values. According to Birnbaum’s stakeholders usually constraint the university management structures. This is because stakeholders do involve and engage in university affairs. During which they halt some of the plans and academic decisions. Ultimately these contradict to the organization overall purpose. Birnbaum’s has blamed the absence of clarity in the universities missions as the possible reason why the conflicts in the stakeholder’s engagement exist.
Fish has identified the need for universities to make profits to keep up with the pace of development. However to this, the university is likely to experience many conflicts and lack of integrity in the process. This is because; the university is multi-sectoral with almost all the departments rendered autonomous. Hence in the long run the business within the university ends up conflicting the goals and the purpose of the university. Birnbaum’s has noted that resources within the university are controlled by individuals and it is hard to internally reallocate these resources. Therefore, doing business with the university is not easy as each campus has internal ways of allocating and reallocating resources (Birnbaum, 1998).
Fish view on management roles is based on his understanding of the democracy. He established that democracy do not apply in the field of education, thus only professionals can manage to be leaders in the academic system of the universities. According to Birnbaum’s, management roles are undertaken depending with ones professionalism and specialization. Birnbaum’s also insisted that the faculties can only be managed by specialize persons, thus management roles according to him is based on professionalism.
Fish has pointed out that universities can successfully work together with stakeholders in shared governance, however there must be clear roles and rules guiding what each individual should do. However, whatever the model the values of the University must adhered to and values and expectations of the university must be the core goal of the stakeholders. On the other hand Birnbaum’s admits that the universities can’t do without stakeholders. Therefore by clearly defining the mission and goals, the stakeholders can be brought on board for the continued support of the mission and goals of the university.
Birnbaum, R. (1988). How colleges work: The cybernetics of academic organization and leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. (Chapter 1 pp 3-29)
Fish. S. (2007, March-April). Shared governance: Democracy is not an educational idea. Change. Retrieved from