Submitted on Wednesday, 5/20/2009, at 9:32 AM

Shared Governance = Mutual Interest

In times of change, according to management expert Niko Canner, “leaders need to be catalysts for causing different interactions to take place,” to spur camaraderie and remind people in the community of their mutual interests.

Canner spoke to the Chronicle of Higher Education about the potential advantages that institutions with shared governance have in times of budgetary distress. (Like now.)

Though shared governance has been negatively stereotyped as a roadblock to change, Mr. Canner said, college presidents, deans, and department chairs who know how to manage within that higher-education tradition may actually be at an advantage, at least compared with executives now struggling over downsizing and restructuring in the corporate world.

There are many challenges, of course, including the institutionalized isolation of different campus groups from one another, as well as the basic survival instinct that urges one to protect one's own first and others later. But perhaps the committees will fight for everyone's best interest after all. We're all in this together, no?