Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to address how issues of legitimacy are influencing the functioning and shaping of the field. The paper identifies key global agendas currently linked to the role of QA in the governance of higher education, the dependencies among key actors within the field and the possible directions of QA in the years to come.
Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on existing studies on external quality assurance (EQA) and provides a meta-reflection on current trends and dynamics within the field.
Findings: The paper argues that the field of EQA is facing a rather turbulent future, both due to increasing competition from other actors that also claim ownership to issues related to quality, and from national authorities which are looking for ways to increase the efficiency and the effectiveness of how the higher education sector is governed.
Research limitations/implications: Studies on EQA need to be strongly linked to studies of governance in higher education as such a link will broaden the understanding of how the field of quality assurance is developing.
Practical implications: The paper provides some hints as to how agencies may position themselves in a more insecure future.
Originality/value: An original contribution is made by linking theories of how legitimacy is developed and shaped to the field of quality assurance.
This item's license is: Attribution 4.0 International