The main aim of the current study is to explore and model the major obstacles that UK universities encounter when developing international partnerships with overseas universities.
Focusing on the obstacles to developing international partnerships, the study results are developed from 24 interviews with senior and very senior university managers from four leading UK universities.
The results indicate that the obstacles to international partnerships for each of the four universities in this study can be grouped into two main categories: the obstacles that are relevant to the process of partner selection, and the obstacles that are relevant to the process of partnership arrangements. The study ends up with a model of obstacles of international partnerships in universities. In terms of strategy evaluation, obstacles related to the partner (whether they are focused or diversified), and obstacles related to the partnership arrangements (whether they are also focused or diversified) identify four quadrants of strategy evaluation: Realistic strategy, Partner‐reevaluation, Arrangement‐reevaluation, and Unrealistic strategy.
Research limitations/ implications
The study brings up the difficulties that come from the drivers of international partnerships and the associated problems. Accordingly, it points out from the data a classification of the obstacles confronting international partnerships and further models this classification. The study however does not tackle some related issues such as the positive side of international partnerships. In this regard, a study exploring the outcomes of international partnerships would be of great importance for researchers and for practitioners in the field.
Given the necessity of revising the process of establishing international partnerships by university managers, the model resulting from this study would be of vast importance to university international office directors and other university policy makers.
This study provides a new classification for obstacles confronting UK universities' international partnerships and develops an original model of these obstacles. This model is expected to be useful for both policy makers and researchers. The study is sustaining the series of studies of international partnership strategy for a group of four UK universities implemented by Ayoubi and followed by a paper in ICERI.
Ayoubi, R.M. and Massoud, H. (2012), "Is it because of partners or partnerships? An investigation into the main obstacles of developing international partnerships in four UK universities", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 338-353. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513541211227755Download as .RIS
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