Part 5: Grand Solutions – Universities and Internationalization.
Traditionally, internationalization within universities was a bottom-up activity. It occurred due to personal connections by an individual faculty members or by research teams. Increasingly, however, universities grow internationally as part of a strategic approach executed as a top-down activity driven by institutional directives.
Several key reasons account for this shift in internationalization: A scientific approach demands awareness of and interaction with international work in order to benchmark one’s own work as to its competence. Internationalization is also part of becoming a competitive enterprise and ensuring capacity utilization. As part of their mission, universities also need to provide social infrastructure and networks for their graduates.
Universities are pioneers of the information revolution. In the 21st Century, they can assume new roles as incubators and connectivity nodes for new ideas and innovations. They are undergoing fundamental change due to new technologies, tighter budgets, increased complexity and growing global competition.
Yet so far, universities have responded only to a limited extent organizationally in a systematic fashion to globalization opportunities and threats. Firms, for example, have long ago differentiated their activities into investments, imports and exports. Companies, though also slowed down by inertia, shift entry approaches dependent on market needs. To some markets they export. Global sourcing and offshoring is used in others. Firms participate in markets through franchising or licensing and often recruit their staff from around the globe. They make investments, either as sole owners or in joint ventures, and shift venues whenever necessary.
This post is part of a series by Michael Czinkota of Georgetown University and Andreas Pinkwart of Handelshochschule Leipzig on international business research and the new role of universities. Find Part 4 here.