The impact of globalisation on higher education institutions in Ontario

  • Sally-Ann Burnett

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Business (DBA)


There exists only sparse empirical data that is concerned with universities’ responses to globalisation. This study explores how and why higher education institutions in Ontario, Canada have responded to aspects of globalisation. It examines the policy context and the processes and priorities in institutional responses. First, the varying meanings and interpretations of the concept of globalisation are examined, alongside its relationship to terms such as glonacalisation, internationalisation, cross-border and borderless education. One particular element of globalisation: the recruitment of non-domestic students, is determined as the anchor point for the empirical research. Using a predominantly qualitative, mixed-methods approach, documentary research provides a foundation and framework of understanding from which detailed, empirical research is used to explore globalisation at each university studied. In the empirical study, the policy context for higher education in Ontario and Canada is first determined before aspects of each case study university are quantified. Thirdly, and most importantly, a qualitative, multiple case study approach is used to achieve a depth of understanding to establish each university’s institutional strategies and practices in response to globalisation. This allows for issues to be probed and conclusions to be drawn in a way that would not have been possible using a purely quantitative approach. Several similarities and many differences are revealed in the institutional responses that are explained in terms of policy context, institutional culture, strategic planning, institutional characteristics and settings. From these are derived some suggested adjustments to institutional strategies for each of the case study universities. More general recommendations follow, aimed at policy makers and institutional leaders, which if acted upon would improve the impact of universities’ responses to globalisation across Ontario. Suggestions for further research are given before the thesis concludes with a summary of the author’s professional and personal development during the course of the DBA.
Date of Award1 Oct 2008
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJeroen Huisman (Supervisor)


  • Canada
  • higher education
  • strategic planning
  • globalisation
  • culture

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