Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice

ISSN: 2630-5984

An Analysis of the Expansion of Higher Education in Turkey Using the New Institutional Theory

Ebru Karataş Acer
Department of Educational Sciences, Uşak University, Uşak, 64200 Turkey.
Nezahat Güçlü
Department of Educational Sciences, Gazi University, Ankara Turkey


Like many other countries around the world, Turkey faces challenges in answering the global demand for expanding higher education. In order to do so, Turkey has promoted a rapid expansion of universities since 2006, establishing 58 universities throughout the country at a growth rate of 109%. The purpose of this study is to investigate the structural imperatives of Turkish public universities to determine their organizational model according to the perception of academic faculty members. Using the perspective known as new institutionalism to form the conceptual framework, the study also draws attention to the issues of quality versus quantity and diversity versus homogeneity within Turkey’s higher education system. This study uses mixed methods. Aside from the method of descriptive statistics, the data analysis process also uses the methods of factor analysis, hierarchical cluster analysis, and multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) analysis. Our analysis shows that, although the number of universities has increased, the quality of universities does not parallel to the growth in Turkey’s higher education system. Regarding the issues of diversity versus homogeneity, new universities represent a highly bureaucratic university model, which makes Turkey’s higher education system isomorphic.

New institutional theory, Isomorphism, Higher education, Public universities.