This study examined discrepancies and similarities between the partner institutions' perceptions of the motivations, expected outcomes, and desired strategies achieving such outcomes in their cross-border higher educational programs from a game theory perspective, in the context of Mainland China (hereafter referred to as China). By comparing the key stakeholders' perceptions from the partner institutions, this study identified compatibility and potential conflicts between the partner institutions involved in cross-border higher educational programs and to analyze these discrepancies and similarities in relation to program implementation strategies to identify potential impact they could have on the program implementation. Two Sino-U.S. business management programs were used as cases to answer the set of research questions that are informed by game theory. A conceptual framework that is grounded in international education, strategic management, and game theory, was devised to capture the dynamic phenomena in cross-border education.
This study found that regardless of the institutions' home country (China or the United States) and their institutional type, similar types of motivations and expected outcomes were identified across all four participating institutions (those with official accreditation). These motivations and expected outcomes included 1) brand recognition and academic reputation, 2) strategic positioning, 3) capacity development and learning, and 4) revenue generation. However, institutions appeared to have different interpretations of these openly stated motivations and expected outcomes, based on their own institutional contexts. The findings suggested that within each partner institution, faculty and administrations (including leaders) sometimes placed a different level of emphasis on expected outcomes, even though key stakeholder groups shared a common understanding around the institutional motivations and expected outcomes mostly as a baseline outcome. The key participants from both partner institutions tended to apply their own interpretation references to their partners, which led to misperceptions between the partners.
Moreover, findings from this study suggest that the strong compatibility between the partners' motivations, expected outcomes, and the preferences of various outcomes made the joint-venture model most appealing to both the Chinese and the U.S. institutions. This compatibility mostly focused on the outcomes of brand recognition, academic reputation, strategic positioning, and financial sustainability of the collaborative programs. Potential conflicts existed between the partners' preferences around these outcomes in the long run, especially between brand promotion and revenue generation. As the collaborative programs continued to evolve and possible external environmental changes occurred, so did the partners' expected outcomes and the related preferences. As a result, the partners tried to make changes and/or added new components to the original chosen strategy. Therefore, although the collaborative programs had been successfully established with the chosen desired strategies, there were potential conflicting discrepancies between the partners' expected outcomes and preferences for various aspects of the desired strategies at a later stage.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2011. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: David W. Chapman. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 292 pages, appendices A-E.
Comparison of the partner institutions’ perceptions of the cross-border higher education program and the impact on program implementation: case studies of two Sino-U.S. business management programs..
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