Internationalisation of education: translocal educational enterprises and the internationalisation of English independent schools

Hu, Haixia ORCID: 0000-0002-5484-2508 (2022). Internationalisation of education: translocal educational enterprises and the internationalisation of English independent schools. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The academic debate on the internationalisation of education has focused on higher education and has overlooked primary and secondary education. The internationalisation of primary and secondary education plays an important role in underpinning internationalisation. English education plays an important role in the global-local networks that have formed to provide educational services which also facilitate individual life chances. This thesis explores the first empirical research undertaken on the internationalisation of primary and secondary education by positioning this topic in debates on international education and business. A qualitative research approach with semi-structured interviews was developed to develop a multiple case study research design. The analysis is based on 98 semi-structured interviews: 40 interviews with English independent schools, 45 interviews with representatives from Translocal Educational Enterprises (TEEs) located in 11 countries, and 13 interviews with stakeholders of English independent schools. A TEE is a business established to provide educational services in a national jurisdiction that combines local investors and other stakeholders with involvement of a non-local school.

The research aimed to understand the activities of English independent schools and TEEs. An English independent school becomes involved in a TEE as a non-local school and related brand involved in a school established in another country. A TEE becomes locally embedded but is also embedded in networks linked to an English school. In exploring the establishment processes of the TEEs and the interrelationships between the TEEs and the schools, this thesis makes four contributions.

First, it has identified, defined TEEs and outlined their characteristics. The establishment of a TEE reflects a global-local network involving a TEE value network and value proposition that combined global reach with the development of a local value network for the delivery of value propositions for value creation. It has provided an understanding that long-established firms that compete on heritage identity, brand and reputation are involved in a continual process of evolution, alteration and adaptation. Second, it has identified two ways in which primary and secondary education is involved in internationalisation by engaging with Dunning’s ownership, location, internalisation (OLI) model (Dunning, 2000, 2009 and 2000) and Hennart’s bundling model (Hennart, 2012). It adds value to the bundling models by revealing the ways in which investors from emerging market economies can pay licensing fees to capture firm-specific advantages (FSAs) held by established firms. Given that the TEEs are local educational service business, no entry model concepts are applied to establish a TEE. But investors from emerging market economies have developed four different TEE business models to balance various levels of control with resource commitments as part of a risk reduction return strategy. Third, it has positioned TEEs within the business model and multisided business model literature. In doing so, it has outlined a multisided not-for-profit and for-profit business model framework to enhance the debates on business models. Fourth, it combines the embeddedness and business model literatures by developing an embeddedness-informed business model framework. This framework highlights that the value creation process within an international business is embedded in social relations, including global-local network linkages. Therefore, a TEE reflects some type of continual exchange relationship between places and represents a place-based embeddedness process founded on global-local interactions.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Bryson, John
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Birmingham Business School
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)


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