Family-owned or -managed higher education institutions: a key dimension in higher education?

Edward Choi, Philip G. Altbach, Mathew Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The commitment of managerial families to educational endeavours has significant implications for society. This analysis provides a comparative perspective on the role and continuity of family-owned or–managed higher education institutions. Also discussed are the benefits (and challenges) linked to their special organisational character, shaped by on the one hand the distinctive managerial agency of a kinship group and, on the other hand, the norms rooted in academe We present national overviews of three countries at different stages of higher education maturation, South Korea, Brazil, and Ethiopia. The comparative examples shed light on in particular the varied environmental factors that threaten or encourage the continuity of these organisations. A more optimistic outlook persists in the cases of Ethiopia and Brazil, which unlike Korea represent emerging economies where increased higher education capacity may be needed relative to the potential future growth in demand. We add to the country overviews a case study of a family-based institution to contextualise the normative understandings of managerial kinship behaviours and motivations. Comparative examples are also introduced to capture the nuanced characteristics of these institutions. This analysis concludes by discussing the sustainability of the family-based leadership model and the implications of national policy on their continuity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolicy Reviews in Higher Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Society for Research into Higher Education.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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