Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32020
Complexity in Managing Higher Education Institutions in Mexico: A System Dynamics Approach

Authors: José Carlos Rodríguez, Mario Gómez, Medardo Serna


This paper analyses managing higher education institutions in emerging economies. The paper investigates the case of postgraduate studies development at public universities. In so doing, it adopts the complex theory approach to evaluate how postgraduate studies have evolved in these countries. The investigation suggests that the postgraduate studies sector at public universities can be seen as a complex adaptive system (CAS). Therefore, the paper adopts system dynamics (SD) methods to develop this analysis. The case of postgraduate studies at Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo in Mexico is investigated in this paper.

Keywords: Higher education institutions, complex adaptive systems, system dynamics, Mexico.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1302


[1] F. C. Bento, Organizational Complexity: Leadership and Change in Research-Intensive Academic Departments, Thesis Dissertation, Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 2013.
[2] I. P. McCarthy, “Technology management: A complex adaptive system approach”, International Journal of Technology Management, Vol. 25, No. 8, pp. 728–745, 2003.
[3] I. P. McCarthy, C. Tsinopoulos, P. Allen, and C. Rose-Anderssen, “New product development as a complex adaptive system of decisions”, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol. 23, No. 5, pp. 437–456, 2006.
[4] R. D. Stacey, “The science of complexity: An alternative perspective for strategic change processes”, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 16, No. 6, pp. 477-495, 1995.
[5] W. Braun, The System Archetypes The Systems Modeling Workbook, 2002.
[6] F. C. Bento, “The contribution of complexity theory to the study of departmental leadership in processes of organisational change in higher education”, International Journal of Complexity in Leadership and Management, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 275-288, 2011.
[7] F. C. Bento, “A discussion about power relations and the concept of distributed leadership in higher education institutions”, The Open Education Journal, Vol. 4, pp. 17-23, 2011.
[8] B. Oyo, and D. Williams “Re-conceptualisation of higher education quality management problems using feedback systems thinking”, International Journal of Management in Education, Vol. 3, No. 3/4, pp. 220-233, 2009.
[9] N. Pandey, and V. Vedak, “Structural transformation of education for sustainable development”, International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development, Vol. 9, No. 1/2/3, pp. 3-15, 2010.
[10] P. L: Galbraith, “System dynamics and university management”, System Dynamics Review, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 69-84, 1998.
[11] D. C. Chou, “Building a successful partnership in higher education institutions”, International Journal of Information Systems and Change Management, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 84-97, 2012.
[12] E. W. Mainardes, J. M. Ferreira, and G. Tontini, “Creating a competitive advantage in higher education institutions: Proposal and test of a conceptual model”, International Journal of Management in Education, Vol. 5, No. 2/3, pp. 145-168, 2011.
[13] E. Wolstenholme, “Using generic system archetypes to support thinking and modelling”, System Dynamics Review, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 341-356, 2004.
[14] P. Senge, La Quinta Disciplina: el Arte y la Práctica de la Organización Abierta al Aprendizaje, Garnica, Buenos Aires/México/Santiago/Montevideo, 2008.
[15] R. D. Stacey, “Learning as an activity of interdependent people”, The Learning Organization, Vol. 10, No. 6, pp. 325-331, 2003.
[16] J. W. Forrester, “Polices, decisions, and information sources for modelling”, in J. D. W. Morecroft, & J. D. Sterman (Eds.) Modeling for Learning Organizations. Productivity Press, 1994.
[17] J. D. Sterman, Business Dynamics. McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2000.
[18] G. Bateson, Steps to An Ecology Mind. Chicago/London, The University of Chicago Press, 1972.
[19] I. P. McCarthy, T.B. Lawrence, B. Wixted, & B. Gordon, “A multidimensional conceptualization of environmental velocity”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 604-626, 2010.
[20] S. Sterling, “Higher education, sustainability, and the role of systemic learning”, in P. Corcoran, & A. Wals (Eds.) Higher Education and the Challenges of Sustainability: Problematic, Promise and Practice, Kluwer, Dordrecht, 2004.
[21] R. K. Lester, “Universities, innovation, and the competitiveness of local economies: A summary report from the local innovation systems”, Working Paper IPC-05-010, Industrial Performance Center, MIT, 2005.
[22] L. M. Branscomb, F. Kodama, & R. Florida, Industrialization Knowledge, The MIT Press, Boston, 1999.
[23] H. Etzkowitz, “The second academic revolution: The role of the research university in economic development”, in S. E. Cozzens et al. (Eds.), The Research System in Transition, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publisher, 1990.
[24] H. Etzkowitz, A. Webster, & P Healey, Capitalizing Knowledge: New Intersections of Industry and Academia, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1998.
[25] A. Hughes, “University-Industry Linkages and UK Scientific and Innovation Policy”, Working Paper, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge, 2006.
[26] C. Nygaard, & C. Holtham, “The Need for Learning-Centred Higher Education”. in C. Nygaard, & C. Holtham (Eds), Understanding Learning-Centred Higher Education, Frederiksberg: Copenhagen Business School Press, pp. 11-29, 2008.
[27] R. B. Barr, & J. Tagg, “From teaching to learning: A new paradigm for undergraduate education”, Change, Vol. 27, No. 6, pp. 12-25, 1995.
[28] J. Biggs, Teaching for Quality Learning at Universities, Buckingham: Open University Press, 2003.
[29] J. M. Cabrera, M. Torres, M. Salinas, & L. M. Villalobos, “Diagnóstico de la formación de recursos humanos de alto nivel en México”, in M. Serna, J. M. Cabrera, R. M. Pérez, & M. Salinas (Eds.) Diagnóstico del Posgrado en México: Ocho Casos de Estudio, Consejo Mexicano de Estudios de Posgrado, A. C., México City, 2013.
[30] WEF, The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012, World Economic Forum, 2012.
[31] M. Serna, & R. M. Pérez, “Diagnóstico del Posgrado en el Estado de Michoacán”, in M. Serna, J. M. Cabrera, R. M. Pérez, & M. Salinas (Eds.) Diagnóstico del Posgrado en México: Ocho Casos de Estudio, Consejo Mexicano de Estudios de Posgrado, A. C., México City, 2013.
[32] J. C. Rodríguez, & M. Gómez, “Anchor tenants, technology transfer and regional innovation systems in emerging economies: a system dynamics approach”, International Journal of Transitions and Innovation Systems, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 14-37, 2012.
[33] J. C. Rodríguez. University-Industry Technology Transfer in Canada: An Analysis of Stakeholders’ Performance Using System Dynamics. Thesis Dissertation, École des Sciences de la Gestion, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), 2010.