IS IT BECAUSE OF PARTNERS OR PARTNERSHIPS? AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE MAIN OBSTACLES OF DEVELOPING INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS IN FOUR UK UNIVERSITIES
Ministry of Higher Education (SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC)
This study is sustaining the serious of studies of international partnership strategy for a group of four UK universities implemented by Ayoubi (2006) and followed by a paper in ICERI (2009). The main aim of the current study is to explore the major obstacles that UK universities encounter when developing international partnerships with overseas universities. Focusing on the obstacles of international partnerships, the study results are based on the same twenty-four interviews with senior and very senior university managers from four UK leading universities which have been used in the previous studies. The results indicate that the obstacles to international institutional partnerships for each university of the four universities in this study are grouped into the obstacles that relevant to the partner selecting and the obstacles that are relevant to the process of partnership arrangements. The study, alike the previous 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 styles of strategy evaluation: Realistic Strategy, Partner-Reevaluation Style, Arrangement-Reevaluation Style, and Unrealistic Strategy. This model would be of vast importance to university international office directors and researchers in the field. The study however did not tackle the positive side of international partnerships. In this regard, a study exploring the outcomes of international partnerships would of great importance for researchers and for practitioners in the field.