The purpose of this article is to analyze how university teachers’ professionalism shapes the coordination processes in higher education institutions (HEIs). By developing an innovative framework, which combines governance theories and theories about professionalization, we found that university teachers’ roles in coordination with governance actors in HEIs follow two different logics: to comply with decisions, policies and rules; to follow their own professional attributes, interests and desires. We add to the current literature by conceptualizing these as two different processes; one of professionalism and one of governance. The professionalization process mainly concerns substantive questions about teaching and its connection to research, and it primarily takes place in collegial conversations, while the governance process concerns questions about form and procedures and emerges when rules and regulations are implemented. The two processes meet when trade unions, professional associations and accreditation institutes act as platforms or arenas for discussions.