This article explores the factors underpinning university effectiveness and the makeable conditions that influence its performance. The concept of University effectiveness is developed from the general concept of organisational effectiveness. The concept of university effectiveness is based on the belief that the survival and assured future of a university rests on its ability to attain its goals and objectives. The article discusses the criteria of university effectiveness in the context of organisational theory. Five effectiveness criteria are namely productivity, adaptability, involvement and satisfaction of stakeholders, continuity and responsiveness are discussed to give a base for determining effectiveness. A holistic approach to university effectiveness is presented as the one that can address all the five criteria because of its emphasis on both the domain of effect and domain of causes as means. A model by Mintzberg (1979) and DeLeeuw (1986) is adopted to demonstrate interrelationship of the five basic elements of effectives – goals, organisational culture, structure, environment, and primary processes. Theoretical orientation that underpin the concept of university effectiveness are discussed under the themes of synoptic planning and bureaucratic organisation, retroactive planning and the leaving organisation, public choice theory, contingency theory and chaos theory. These are categorized, as mechanisms levers of university effectiveness. The article lastly presents leadership in the university as the key variable around which the success or failure of a university rotates.
Makerere Journal of Higher Education Vol. 1, 2004: 1-12