This master thesis examines the strategic responses of Berlin Humboldt University to the German policy instrument Excellence Initiative. Using document analysis and qualitative interviews, it investigates which changes have been taking place within the university and whether they can be interpreted as strategic responses to the policy instrument. Furthermore, it addresses the question to what extent the changes have been triggered by the institutional leadership and in which way they are being influenced by institutional forces. The analysis is based on Oliver s (1991) typology of strategic responses and characterization of environmental pressures. The findings indicate that several organizational changes took place that can be considered strategic responses to the Excellence Initiative. A large part of the strategic behavior was deliberately triggered by the institutional leadership but several changes also emerged from within the institution. This means the university can be considered a strategic actor that is able to act strategically within the boundaries of its institutional norms.