Selecting international partners and arranging international partnerships in UK universities: A multiple case study approach

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Universities around the world became more internationally active through increased student mobility, staff mobility, international dimension of curriculum, and others. International cooperation and partnerships became as an important asset for universities, where in order to facilitate such international cooperation, selecting partners and arranging partnerships were considered as a major organizational steps towards the success of the partnership itself. In UK universities and colleges, there has been more expansion in international activities primarily represented by international partnerships. Theoretically, most models of internationalization in universities focus on internationalization as a general strategy ignoring the implementation phase of such strategy. The main aim of this study is to investigate the organizational process of international strategy in UK universities through institutional partnerships. Focusing on the ‘mechanisms’, and the ‘obstacles’ of international partnerships, the study results were based on twenty-four interviews with senior and very senior university managers from four UK leading universities. The results indicate that the mechanisms of international institutional partnerships for each university of the four universities in this study are grouped into the process of partner selecting and the process of partnership arrangements. In addition, the obstacles of international institutional partnerships are also grouped into obstacles related to the overseas partner, and obstacles related to the partnership arrangements. A comparative analysis amongst the four universities shows that all interviewees consider obstacles related to partnerships arrangements as the main obstacles in establishing overseas partnerships. The article ends up with two models of organizations and obstacles of international partnerships in universities. The two models would be of vast importance to university international office directors and researchers in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICERI2009 Proceedings
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)978-84-613-2953-3
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventInternational Conference of Education, Research and Innovation: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation - Madrid, Spain
Duration: 16 Nov 200918 Nov 2009
Conference number: 2

Publication series

ISSN (Print)2340-1095


ConferenceInternational Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Abbreviated titleICERI2009
Internet address


  • universities
  • UK
  • international partnerships
  • selecting partners
  • arranging


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