Planning for Higher Education Journal

Organizational Portfolio Management and Institutions of Higher Education

From Volume 43 Number 2 | January–March 2015
By Anne Milkovich
Planning Types: Academic Planning

Higher education is undergoing many sector-level changes while under growing pressure as a whole to demonstrate or improve institutional performance. Increasingly, private-sector industry organizations are applying portfolio management to their organizational resources as a strategy to improve performance. Although not formally recognized in practice or in the literature as portfolio management, the activity of prioritizing academic and administrative programs in higher education applies the principles of economic portfolio theory and private-industry portfolio management to the higher education sector. A small number of higher education institutions have undertaken academic program prioritization. Little empirical research exists to understand the use of portfolio management in higher education or its effectiveness in improving institutional performance. This study examines the characteristics of 62 institutions that have identified a need to intentionally manage and prioritize their portfolio of academic and administrative programs to improve institutional performance. The purpose of this study is to identify any relationship between the identified need to manage the organizational portfolio and certain institutional characteristics that have been found through empirical research to be predictors of institutional performance challenges. A wealth of research opportunities exists in the organizational portfolio management domain; recognizing the characteristics of institutions that identify a need to manage their portfolio of academic and administrative programs is a step toward filling the gap in the research and informing resource decision making.

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