Purpose – This paper seeks to analyse how excellence and diversity are addressed in student recruitment strategies, and how these strategies are developed in eight Norwegian higher education institutions. Design/methodology/approach – The study utilises a theoretical perspective that asserts that strategy is developed through practice. The authors have combined document analysis with qualitative interviews to investigate the development of institutional student recruitment strategies, their characteristics and their links to the individual institution's profile and ambitions. Findings – The study reveals that student recruitment strategies are often grounded in inherent institutional identities, while at the same time responding to external ideas about excellence and diversity. The study also finds that higher education institutions show significant creativity in trying to adapt to these ideas and general trends, while at the same time maintaining their own characteristics and traditions. Findings suggest that student recruitment strategies are also used for accountability purposes. Given the importance of student recruitment, many higher education institutions attach surprisingly little importance to this issue. Research limitations/implications – The study encompasses only a small number of institutions in a single country, limiting the possibility of generalising aspects of the profile and content of the student recruitment strategies. Nevertheless, the analysis indicates that the processes associated with the development of student recruitment strategies are quite similar, with more emphasis on specific quantitative analytical schemes and less emphasis on other ways of organising strategy development. Originality/value – The paper reveals the importance of placing greater focus on the ways in which strategic processes are organised and identifying the potential for improving the creative organisation of the strategising process.
International Journal of Educational Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 18, 2010
Keywords: Students; Higher education; Universities; Recruitment; Norway