The purpose of this study is to investigate the motivations for international academic alliance development, the configuration of alliance networks and their sustained management in Business Schools within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). A purposive sample of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) engaged with international alliance activities was selected from seven Business Schools within the target markets of France, Germany and Scotland. In order to investigate issues inherent within international alliance development this sample provided access to academic and administrative elites competent to discuss their alliance portfolios, from a strategic perspective, through semi-structured interview conducted in their home institutions. A key feature of the research was that, in the interest of minimising the potential for superficial or pre-conceived conclusions to be drawn, interviews with participants from two respondent institutions were positioned outside the researcher’s direct ‘preferred partner’ network. This insider-outsider perspective reduced potential bias through over-familiarity with solely networked institutional respondents when analysing the development, configuration and management of international academic alliances and alliance portfolios (APs).
The study identifies three key findings on the basis of the analysis of institutional alliance activity. Firstly, that HEIs, operating within an appropriate regulatory environment can utilise both exploitation and exploration alliance strategies simultaneously to extend their resource base. The two strategies can be mutually reinforcing, and are not contradictory in tertiary education. Secondly, the analysis indicates that the extent to which resource extension may be achieved is reflected in the alliance strategy employed as HEIs internationalise. The movement from exploitation to exploration alliance strategy signifies a fundamental change in strategic intent and direction of the Business School, so new internationalisation strategy definitions are proposed for tertiary education. Thirdly, alliance management capability has the potential to develop, within complex partnership scenarios, as an institutional core competence, providing the potential for sustainable competitive advantage. On the basis of this analysis tools are developed which can assist in the strategic decision-making process for further evolution of alliance networks within institutional internationalisation strategies. The resultant application of these strategic tools allows for Business Schools to determine the characteristics of appropriate alliance partners to fill the gaps identified within their alliance network or portfolio.
Harte, P. An analysis of EHEA Business School approaches to the development, configuration and management of international academic alliances. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/976954