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How Can International Staff Exchange be Implemented as Part of the Execution of an Internationalisation Strategy in UK Higher Education? The Case of a Strategic Entrepreneur

By Alison Pearce


This work constructs a bridge across the "knowing-doing gap" of international staff exchange: the gap between strategy formulation and its execution within the constraints of a post-1992 university business school in the UK. It goes beyond the common, well-intentioned and yet vague statements involving the "encouragement" of international staff exchange to propose a model of execution through strategic entrepreneurship.\ud \ud The promotion of international staff mobility is a founding principle of the "Bologna Process", designed to create a converged system of higher education across Europe. Many UK "new" (ie post-1992) universities are engaged in the development of internationalisation strategies which include staff exchange. Meanwhile, the failure to execute strategy is increasingly acknowledged as a major problem in organisational performance.\ud \ud Using a first-, second and third-person Insider Action Research (AR) approach, the author initiated, planned, organised and implemented an international staff exchange between universities in the UK and France. Data generated were subjected to a double process of analysis in order to construct the new model. A policy of "subjectivity with transparency" and transcontextual credibility throughout enables the reader to judge transferability. Duality is the nature of this "bridge" and the simplistic transplant of the expatriation policies of commercial organisations is avoided. Concepts from the theoretical literature in three domains - strategic management and entrepreneurship in higher education, internationalisation of higher education and strategy execution through strategic entrepreneurship - are combined with the research analysis to propose that "strategic entrepreneurs" can execute the riskier elements of an internationalisation strategy, such as staff exchange. Members of the creative class, strategic entrepreneurs are attracted and motivated by the foundation of a diverse environment and entrepreneurial culture promoted by a university's values-driven, holistic approach to internationalisation. Their autonomous strategic behaviour must be facilitated by an execution-focussed organisational architecture. In a university, the overall approach to staff exchange should combine central and local (school-based) functions and resource both to develop strategic initiatives and to exploit tactical opportunities. \ud \ud This work broadens AR from education into strategic management, specifically linking the areas of strategic execution and strategic entrepreneurship

Topics: N100, N600, X200
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