Simon Marginson and Erlenawati Sawir: University leaders’ strategies in the global environment

Simon Marginson and Erlenawati Sawir: University leaders’ strategies in the global environment: A comparative study of Universitas Indonesia and the Australian National University (PDF)
Higher Education, 52 (2), pp. 343-373 (2006)

In a global environment in which global, national and local nodes relate freely within common networks, all research universities must pursue strategies for building global capacity and facilitating cross-border staff and student movement and research collaboration. The study compares readings of the global environment, global and international activities and relationships, and global capacity and strategy, in two leading national universities, one in a middle level developing country (Indonesia) and the other in a middle level developed country (Australia). The main tool of investigation was interviews with parallel groups of institutional leaders and leaders of academic units and research centres, in conjunction with study of the national and local contexts. It was apparent that in both cases, while global elements are increasingly important in university strategy, mission and identity, resource capacity remains highly dependant on national government and students. This belies the romantic myth of the ‘stand-alone’ corporate university in the global marketplace. The two cases also differ in some respects. While both universities are peak national institutions, and each respects the other, the Australian university is more strongly placed in the global environment and practical dealings between them are asymmetrical. The study helps to illuminate the dynamics of global stratification and hierarchy between developed and developing nations and institutions in higher education.

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