Original Research

The interplay between strategic drivers and neoliberalism in South African higher education

Dirk Rossouw, Geoffrey A. Goldman
Transformation in Higher Education | Vol 8 | a252 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/the.v8i0.252 | © 2023 Dirk Rossouw, Geoffrey A. Goldman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 November 2022 | Published: 29 September 2023

About the author(s)

Dirk Rossouw, Department of Business Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Geoffrey A. Goldman, Department of Business Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

The VUCA world which refers to ‘volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity’ forces higher education institutions (HEIs) to be aware and understand strategic drivers. Further knowledge of the interplay between strategic drivers, neoliberalism, and ‘public good’ can assist HEIs not to seize the notion of furthering the neoliberal agenda at all cost, but to strive for a more balanced outcome. This article attempts to explore how strategic drivers can act as a ‘reality check’ to ensure that HEIs serve the interests of the communities and that of society in general, and that higher education does not become a mechanism to serve the neoliberal agenda above all else. This is a conceptual article in which a reflective, dialectical approach was employed, extrapolating on a PhD study on strategic drivers for South African HEIs. Strategic drivers are confirmed as key forces the South African HEIs should reckon with and manage in pursuing the socio-economic agenda within the growing popularity of neoliberalism.

Contribution: This study alerts South African HEIs and institutions internationally on using strategic drivers to transform in serving the socio-economic agenda and the ‘public good’ in the midst of the neoliberal.


Keywords

strategic drivers; higher education institutions; neoliberalism; socio-economics; ‘public good’

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

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