RISIS Seminar: What Makes Content? Factors Influencing the Mission of Universities

Institute of Communication and Public Policy

Date: 24 April 2024 / 12:30 - 14:00

Online (Please register to receive the meeting details)

Presenter: Harry Hoffmann, TU Ilmenau

Discussant: Marco Seeber, University of Agder



Mission statements are common instruments for the strategic positioning of universities. However, there are few large-scale, cross-national studies examining the factors that influence the content of universities’ mission statements. We address this research gap by exploring the content of 413 mission statements from European universities by applying correlated topic modeling. Moreover, relying on institutional theories of organisation, we study factors that explain differences in the content of mission statements. Our findings reveal six distinct topics addressed in mission statements. The prevalence of a specific topic is significantly shaped by the cultural orientation of the universities’ host country, the university’s founding context, and institutional control. Our findings contribute not only to research on universities’ strategic positioning but also shed light on the diffusion of global trends across organizations and the determinants of their adaptation. Moreover, our study offers an illustrative example of how big data analytics can enhance public administration research.


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Would you like to present your ongoing work in the RISIS Seminar Series?

Interested presenters are requested to submit a title, a short abstract (10-15 lines), an indication of the preferred presentation period, and suggestions for discussants to Agata Lambrechts at [email protected] .Slots will be filled in on a first-come, first-served basis, provided proposals are aligned with the series' goals.