Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop a comparative analysis of the main objectives of international institutional partnerships in four UK leading universities. Based on the presented case studies, the paper outlines a model for objectives and implementation of international partnership. Design/methodology/approach – Using a multiple case study approach, the paper employs three sources of data: templates of international partnerships, actual agreements of international partnerships and interviews with senior and very senior managers concerned with internationalisation at the four universities. The analysis includes inter‐university comparative analysis and templates‐agreements‐interviews comparative analysis for each of the four universities separately. Findings – It is found that, for the four universities, the objectives of international partnerships are related to both students and staff with relative importance given to the student dimension. While the student dimension refers to any overseas partnerships where the core topic of the partnership is the student whether it is related to student exchange, collaborative programs, student recruitment, etc.; the staff dimension refers to any overseas partnerships that are more related to the staff topic, such as joint research, collaborative teaching, staff exchange, etc. Research limitations/implications – The comparative analysis of templates‐agreements‐ interviews show some gaps in international strategy design in one of the universities, and some gaps in international strategy implementation in the other three universities. Practical implications – The comparative analysis is developed into a model for international strategy design and implementation. This model can assess university managers in running their international business. Originality/value – The paper highlights the importance of adopting a realistic strategy by university managers. The realistic strategy is the strategy that gives equivalent attention to the two dimensions: the design and the implementation.
International Journal of Educational Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 1, 2006
Keywords: International business; United Kingdom; Universities; Partnership; Strategic alliances
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