Social Commitment at Higher Education Institutions: Analysis of Their Strategic Plans

Adela García-Aracil, Rosa Isusi-Fagoaga, Sílvia Monteiro, Leandro Almeida
Education Sciences

The social contribution of higher education institutions (HEIs) tends to be constrained as a description of HEI activities in terms of outcomes, but no examination of how HEIs face societal problems through collaborative activities has been addressed. One way to explore social strategy pursued by HEIs is through the analysis of their strategic plans. We analyze the strategic plans of public HEIs in Portugal and Spain due to their similarities after the 2008 international financial crisis, which led to a major recession and gave rise to social actions to address societal problems. In doing so, we propose a framework that could guide future research in providing empirical evidence on the formulation, articulation, and implementation of social issues in institutional strategic plans. We interviewed HEI representatives to confirm some of our findings, highlighting several factors that enhance or suppress the attainment of social issues. Our research shows that HEI responses to social commitment differ according to each institution’s regulations and social circumstances. We aspire to encourage management scholars to engage in tackling social strategy through their collaborative activities.