Strategic Management of Offshore Branch Campuses in Transnational Higher Education
: Global Synergy Versus Local Responsiveness

  • Farshid Shams

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This research is at the intersection of strategic management, international business and internationalisation of higher education institutions (HEIs). It focuses on the managerial aspects of higher education institutions with offshore branch campuses. In the past couple of decades the number of offshore branch campuses established by HEIs - mainly universities - has increased dramatically, but most research carried out to date in this field has been anecdotal and the number of theoretical studies in this area is very limited. Thus, the aim of this research is to breach this gap by developinga theoretical framework that is capable of explaining the managerial aspects of foreign branch campus operations. The key research question in this study is how transnational higher education institutions (TNHEIs) strategically manage their offshore branch campuses. In order to address this question, the literature on TNHEIs with regard to managerial complexities is reviewed. By assimilating and reconceptualising this literature, a multidimensional framework is constructed, which encapsulates the most pertinent ramifications of managing an offshore branch campus. The framework has been constructed by drawing on a widely used paradigm in the international business discipline, known as the dichotomy of global integration versus local responsiveness (I-R dichotomy). It helps to portray the TNHEIs’ strategic positions and positional change strategies on three dimensions of curriculum, research activities and staffing.
Date of Award31 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJeroen Huisman (Supervisor)


  • stratigic management
  • international business
  • higher education management

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