Managing Stakeholder Interests in Higher Education Institutions


Educational institutions also require continuous improvement to keep up with the challenges of the world. Special consideration needs to be given to research and technological advancement to keep pace with the challenges faced by educational organizations. This essay considers organizational restructuring as an institutional activity for the reorganization of Academic department (ACAD) in the Military University "Nueva Granada" (UMNG). As a step forward for the restructuring of the institution, as new faculty i-e Mechatronic Faculty (MEFA) is introduced. Like any other organization, an educational institution also has some external and internal stakeholders. The essay investigates that internal stakeholders of this institution include the Director of UMNG and the teaching staff, while the external stakeholders are the Military body and local community.

Students are intermediate stakeholders. With the incubation of a new faculty, the interests of the stakeholders need special consideration. The director, as a leader, needs to incorporate the interests of internal and external stakeholders. There is a need to synchronize the interests of these stakeholders to identify and address the challenges faced by the organization. Possible challenges which would arise as a result of this transition are discussed here. A comprehensive economical, politic and structural strategy is designed to address the challenges identified. In short, the essay addresses the successful execution of restructuring in an educational institution for the introduction of Mechatronic faculty.


In the last two decades, the higher education has required of the high levels of research, and actualization in technology advancement to achieve success in the educational process, and obtain excellent national ranking, and international recognition. For this reason, nowadays the leaders of the higher education institutions develop macro-projects in their learning organizations. Some macro-projects are about reconstruction of faculties with the introduction of new programs or the creation of new departments in the universities, in accordance with the needs of the local community.

This essay shows the restructuring of Academic department (ACAD) in the Military University "Nueva Granada" (UMNG) with the creation of Mechatronic Faculty (MEFA). Moreover, this document is divided in two parts: firstly, identifies and describes the internal and external stakeholders' interest. Afterwards, the second part of this paper shows the challenges of managing these interests in this organizational reconstruction,

General Context

To begin with, it is important to know some facts about the educational environment in this military institution. The institution is the Military University "Nueva Granada" (UMNG) located in Bogota - Colombia that started in 1980 as a special administrative unit of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Education. This institution enrolls 3000 students (military and civil) for the year and the institutional staff consists of 380 professionals of different areas (Ministry of Defense, Educational Project of Military University). Since its establishment, this school of higher education consists of four departments: General Department of Human Resources, Administrative Department, Research Department and Academic Department (ACAD). At present, the teaching staff is 70 % military and 30% civil (Ministry of Defense, Educational Project of Military University). However, even though UMNG has had an excellent national ranking, its principal concern is to engage its efforts in science and technology. For this reason, UMNG started the organizational restructuring of ACAD with the creation of Mechatronic Faculty.

According to Kamm, the Mechatronic is a science thata is capable of applying and managing innovative systems of high quality to provide solutions to the needs of the country and contribute to the development of humanity (Kamm, 2005). However, for the most part, the Mechatronics is essentially, the right combination of mechanical, electronics, computer engineering and control, although the latter is mentioned, as it is usually combined with one of the three previous. In brief, this organizational restructuring is about the introduction of Mechatronic Faculty in ACAD with regard to the technological contribution involving the synergy of various branches of knowledge and to address the great problems of humanity.

Identifying internal and external stakeholder

Maassen argues: According to some descriptions, stakeholder in higher education means actors of external groups, which require an indirect or direct interest in higher education and cannot always be covered with the provider- consumer analogy (Maassen, 2000). Innovative stakeholders have infiltrated a traditional autocratic relationship between the higher education institutions and the state with two key characteristics. Firstly, the effect of these outside groups has also grown with respect to internal concerns of higher education institutions. Secondly, the role of the external actors has become more significant in last few decades. In a higher education institution, a stakeholder is identified by the implicated actors such as students, faculty, and administrators. However, the analysis would not stop there.  In the military universities, it is important to consider, among others, their military and civil students, the parents, the local community, the military structure, the educational institutions (public and private) and graduating students. However, for the development of this work, I shall focus to the Director of UMNG and the teaching staff as internal stakeholder and students as intermediate stakeholder. In the case of external stakeholder, I will show in superficial form the interests of the Military body and local community.    

Describing internal and external stakeholder interests

According to McAdam & Bickerstaff the restructuring of educational organizations is essential, but this is likely to have little effect unless we understand the need for restructuring of the interests and expectations of the groups who are the heart of organization. The most basic form of restructuring is the introduction of new departments, faculties or sections (McAdam & Bickerstaff, 2001). Because of organizational restructuring of the UMNG through the creation of the Mechatronic Faculty, it is possible to describe the key internal and external stakeholders' interests. For this reason, in this context there are five stakeholder interest areas in accordance to the expectations and needs. These areas are: Strategic Direction, New Studies Program, Technological Development, Operational Change and Research.

Morgan (2006) affirms that technology has served as an instrument of power, improving the ability of humans to manipulate, control and impose their environment. Technology in modern organizations provides its users the ability to achieve extraordinary results and productive activity, along with the ability to manipulate its productive power and make it work effective for their own purposes (Morgan, 2006). In the case of Director of UMNG, his strategic decision of the creation of MEFA is to improve the level of higher education through new programs in sciences and technology. In addition, the Director wants to become the leader of the technological development in the country by developing research and assuming the operational changes. As Bolman & Deal point out; the connotations of the innovation of technology provide significant benefits and produce radical changes in the structure of the organization (Bolman & Deal, 1997).

The biggest interest in the organizational reconstructing of ACAD is not only the introduction of MEFA but also to begin the run towards the technology application to improve and boost the research and development area and the diversity of educational areas. This transformation is the entrance in the world of the science and technology. However, As Bolman & Deal point out, the restructuring of structures inevitably produce some tensions in the groups (Bolman & Deal, 1997). The major concern of the Director is the reaction of the students and the teaching staff towards hiring new teachers and possible change of personnel as a consequence of the organizational reconstructing. Additionally, other worries of Director are the budget of the project and the new infrastructure. Therefore, the level of influence of the Director in this situation is very high because any decision taken in this restructuration will directly affect this academic institution.

According to Lee & Smith, the literature on teaching staff expectations typically emphasizes interaction between teachers and their students. However, teachers' expectations can also be studied by examining teachers' sense of responsibility towards students' learning with the changes of the institution (Lee & Smith, 2001).  In the case of teaching staff as an internal stakeholder, their major concern is to engage the students in learning through the support and academic benefits of the new laboratories of the MEFA. Furthermore, another interest of teachers is the introduction of new programs such as Mechatronic, Virtual Reality and Robotic is to improve the professional preparation of the students and guarantee the graduation of future specialists with innovative attitude.

Moreover, according to the Military teachers, their particular interest is to develop the integral fusion between students and projects of technological development focusing in the military areas such as armament, communications, logistic and transports. However, Bolman & Deal argue that organizational architecture could be affected by two particular factors: the role and job skills (Bolman & Deal, 1997). The major concern of teaching staff is to update their specialization and the learning of other languages, since the technological development demand actualization in different areas of Knowledge. In this way, the level influence of the teaching staff achieves a medium level, though the teachers have a great interest in the institution, they do not have a direct influence in decision making process.

Literature has different classifications of students as stakeholder. Particularly, According to Short & Greer, the student, along with the teacher, plays a collaborative role in the academic process because one cannot function without the other. The empowerment of teaching staff will facilitate the empowerment of students (Short & Greer, 2002). In this case, students are considered as internal stakeholder. Whereas, according to Freeman, external stakeholder will include customers, students, competitors, suppliers, and so on (Freeman, 1984). Some stakeholders will be more difficult to categorize, such as trade unions that may have elements of both internal and external membership. Here the student group is further categorized into two groups i.e military students and civil students.

Their main interest is the introduction of academic programs such as Robotic and Virtual Reality oriented to the automation. The second interest is the innovation of the Center of Mechatronic and Virtual Reality. Finally, the overseas recruitment of Doctors and Ph.Ds to lead MEFA. In the same way, the interests of civil students are the new multi-service infrastructure in the campus and the introduction of new laboratories such as Digital laboratory, Mechanics Laboratory, Electronic and Nano-technology laboratories. However, the major concern of the students is to learn the use of new programs and software. In addition, other worries are the high cost of new academic programs, the market of the electronic and mechanic material is difficult to find.

Finally, the last concern is about the language skills, since all books of Science and Technology (Mechatronic Programs) are in English language but in Colombia the maternal language is Spanish. In this organizational reconstructing, there is a considerable percentage  of external stakeholders that  have  special  interest in the process  of the institution  but  they  do not have any influence  on the  decision making process. Particularly, the local community and the military body are the main external stakeholders who have a primordial interest in the introduction of research to consolidate technological development in future. However, several concerns affect this group but the most important is the consolidation of fusion between civil and militaries to Science and Technology Development.

Analysis stakeholder (stakeholder matrix)


Director of UMNG and ACAD are stakeholders who have a high level of impact on the project, which are also of exceptional importance for its triumph. This involves that the implementation of Higher Education system will need to construct excellent working relations with this stakeholder to guarantee an operative alliance of support for the organizational reconstructing.


Students and teaching staff are stakeholders of immense significance to the attainment of the restructuring. However, provide they little stimulation. This suggests that they will require exceptional initiatives if their interests are to be protected.


The Army Body and the local community are stakeholders with extraordinary encouragement, who can consequently affect the organizational reconstructing results. However, whose interests are not necessarily aligned with the overall goals of the project. This deduction involves that these stakeholder could be a basis of substantial risk, and this will need careful inspection and management.

Stakeholder Management

Challenges Addressed and Opportunities Identified

According to McKinney, engagement can help organizations meet tactical and strategic needs ranging from gathering information and spotting trends that may impact their activities, to improving transparency and building (McKinney, 2007). The expectation of the individuals or groups whose support is critical to an organization's long term success, to glow the modernization and organizational restructuring required to meet new challenges and prospects. In terms of Stakeholder Management, the challenges of managing will be categorized in three particular areas: Technical, Social and Structural. 

1.   Technical Challenges

The main technical challenge facing teaching staff as stakeholder is to understand the circumstances an actual organizational restructuration as the beginning of technological development.

The technological framework surrounding the transformation of the higher education institution, such as the form in which the University has been reconstructed, how can the students understand the new academic programs and the responsibility of learning English as the required language in the new programs of Mechatronic.

Additionally technical challenge of military teachers also refers to understanding that the fusion between students and projects of mechatronic programs in the military areas will mean taking calculated risks inherent in any organizational reconstructing. Thus, teaching staff must know that Direction of UMNG will provide expected support in return of academic recommendations provided by teachers and students.

The important issue here is how the students as stakeholder will interact with the management in the introduction of doctors or PhDs in the new faculty, timely disclosure of innovative programs and academic information about the Mechatronic faculty, and how they can be rational inventors given the uncertainties that surround all other stakeholder.

2.   Social Challenges

One of the most complex and vast issues surrounding the educational culture in the higher education could be attributed to the social challenge of the organizational restructuring. This type of challenge would result from the well-known social phenomenon known as the "resistance to change" against the profound implications of social, political and economic changes of transition.

In the case of access and equity, according to Stephenson & Yorke, the high percentage of the participation of under-represented groups and guarantee higher level learning consolidates the success of access and equity (Stephenson & Yorke, 1998). One of the challenges is equal opportunity of the access to the innovative academic programs with the introduction of Mechatronic faculty.

Science and technology reinforce almost every facet of contemporary society. They affect our daily lives and shape our futures. Science and technology studies is an interdisciplinary program that consolidates the technological development.  For this reason, another challenge is the offer of variety of programs and selected subjects in science and technology.

This challenge refers to the hiring of personnel, as Bolman & Deal (2003) points out, this involves surround oneself of the adequate candidate and with great experience (Bolman & Deal, 2003). In this way, the challenge is the hiring of new personnel without affecting the current teaching staff.

3.   Economic Challenges

This challenge speaks to the design of decision-making arrangements in the economic area, supported by the institutional budget and the support of Administrative Department so that the development of infrastructure can be made more efficient and effective.

The success of effective practice then should be based on a participatory approach to organizational reconstructing that stakeholders should be actively involved in the planing of projects. This challenge refers to building the new installation with exceptional facilities and services keeping all the needs of the stakeholders in mind.

The Strategy

Economic Strategy

The government policy published in 2008 and called "Education and Development", where, the government provides outstanding funds for higher education institutions, which develop educational projects to improve the quality of the education (Republic of Colombia - Strategic Plan 2025). For this reason, the strategy of UMNG will be using the institutional budget and the funds of Government to develop the organizational restructuring. Particularly, the budget will be invested in this way:

 INFRASTRUCTURE 55% LABORATORIES: mechatronic, virtual reality, robotic and digital develop.

Structural strategy

The Direction of the Military University will develop an ambitious project in the Academic Department. The visionary strategy will consist of an introduction of three special departments in the Mechatronic faculty i.e Mechatronic Systems Department, Analysis of mechatronic systems Department and Mechatronic design Department.

Moreover this Direction of UMNG will create the next subjects as part of this strategy:

Politic Strategy

In terms of control of the decision-making process, the ability to influence the outcome of the processes of decision-making is a well-recognized source of power. An individual or group who can exercise a decisive influence in the decision-making processes can exert immense influence in the Affairs of the Organization (Morgan, 2006). For this reason, this strategy will consist of an introduction of new policies in three special aspects:

  • Military Student: Policy for the access to the Mechatronic programs.
  • Civil Student: Policy for the access to the Mechatronic programs.
  • Hiring Staff: Policy for the hiring to the teaching staff in MEFA.

Furthermore, Morgan affirms that technology has served as an instrument of power, improving the ability of humans to manipulate, control and impose their environment. Technology in modern organizations provides its users the ability to achieve extraordinary results and productive activity, along with the ability to manipulate its productive power and make it work effectively for their own purposes (Morgan, 2006). In the case of UMNG, this concept is the reason for another strategy in political dimension: the strategy consists in the introduction of the manual of regulations to advance Mechatronic programs with the next aspects:

  • Regulation I: English as second language (introduction obligatory Academic English)
  • Regulation II: Expo-technology as bi-annual event of Science and technology.
  • Regulation III: Introduction of the Manuals of each laboratory established.
  • Regulation IV: Introduction of the Manual of Personal security (laboratories)
  • Regulation V: Introduction of the Manual of the correct use tools and special material.


It is concluded that an institutional restructuring requires a synchronization of interests of external and internal stakeholders. It is very crucial to maintain a synergy between the common interests. An introduction of technological improvements in the infrastructure is not a stand alone activity. It requires a step by step approach to cover all the aspects of reformation. The educational institution has to focus of the challenges arising due to the new faculty. A special consideration needs to be paid towards the strategic dimension of this change. No doubt, change is hardly acceptable in any organization. It is the duty of the organization to facilitate the adoption of this change. This can be done by addressing the problems identified in the essay.

The economic strategies discusses here throw light on what should be the ratio of budget allocated to each restructuring activity. The structure of the new faculty must be designed keeping in view the keen interest of the military university. New set of policies need to be developed to keep the system work and flourish. So, the technological advancement is not possible in isolation. An integrated approach is essential for the successful implementation of restructuring.