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The challenges of managing transnational education partnerships: The views of “home-based” managers vs “in-country” managers

Nigel Martin Healey (Office of the Vice Chancellor, Fiji National University, Nasinu, Fiji)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 12 March 2018




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the challenges of managing transnational education (TNE) partnerships from the perspective of the home university managers.


The study adopts a qualitative, “insider researcher” methodology’. It uses a sample set of eight mangers who operate from the home university and 13 “in-country” managers who are seconded to head up the overseas TNE partnerships. The samples are all drawn from UK universities to standardise for other variables (e.g. legislative framework).


It finds that the managers based at the home campus report a generally negative attitude, emphasising the riskiness and the lack of scalability, sustainably and profitability, as well as the general resistance to TNE from staff on the home campus. The in-country managers, in contrast, experience the same lack of empathy from their peers at home, but this group tends to more closely associate themselves with their local colleagues and to be drawn into building relationships with local stakeholders.

Research limitations/implications

The limitation of this research is that it is based on a sample of managers from the same country.

Practical implications

In practical terms, the findings suggest that universities need to do more to increase awareness and commitment to their TNE partnerships amongst staff at the home campus, while providing better professional development and more frequent rotations for their in-country managers.


This paper extends the very limited literature on the management of TNE partnerships.



Healey, N.M. (2018), "The challenges of managing transnational education partnerships: The views of “home-based” managers vs “in-country” managers", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 241-256.



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