Higher Education reform trends hit Portugal in 2007, with law 62/2007 (RJIES) defining a new
institutional framework and imposing major changes to higher education institutions (HEIs). These
were given the chance to choose between two institutional models and required to restructure their
governance model. One of the visible outcomes of this reform is a blurring of boundaries between
HEIs and society. Academics now have to share a space that was traditional theirs with people
coming from outside academia.
The present study results from an analysis of the changes occurred in six Portuguese
universities after implementation of the RJIES, considering the context of broad public
administration reform embedded in a managerialist framework. Changes to the governance model
were analyzed focusing on the presence of external stakeholders in top governing bodies. The
perceptions of both academics and external stakeholders were analyzed in order to assess to what
extent the presence of external stakeholders is perceived as a necessary and effective change.
Furthermore, this study also intends to shed some light to the following question: how do
academics and external stakeholders perceive the presence of external stakeholders, at HEIs’ top