Academic journal article Journal of East European Management Studies

International Staff Mobility in Higher Education: To What Extent Could an Intra-European Entrepreneurial Approach Be Applied to Sino-CEE Initiatives? *

Academic journal article Journal of East European Management Studies

International Staff Mobility in Higher Education: To What Extent Could an Intra-European Entrepreneurial Approach Be Applied to Sino-CEE Initiatives? *

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

It is evident that cultural globalisation has "ushered in a new era in higher education" (Marginson/van der Wende 2007:3). According to Altbach and Lewis (1996), international scholarship has followed the blurring of national boundaries and increasing national interdependency in the industry. Many policy makers and scholars asseverate the need for higher education institutions to internationalise (Adams/Carfagna 2006; Friedman 2005; Green 2003; Grünzweig/ Rinehart 2002), including international staff exchange. Many HE internationalisation strategies include a statement regarding the 'encouragement' of international staff mobility (Harris 2008; Killick 2007) but none goes further in explaining how this might be achieved. The internationalisation of university staff is less well researched than that of the student (Christie/Barron/D'AnnunzioGreen 2013; Knight 2003; Guo/Chase 2011), especially through international staff exchange. Very little is understood regarding the strategic execution of international staff mobility.

The Chinese education system is the largest in the world. Going back three thousand years, the indigenous tradition (e.g. Confucius) has had a significant influence on the Chinese higher education (HE) system. The contents of learning were drawn mainly from classical texts of Confucian teaching. In 1949, China's HE system was restructured to be highly controlled by central government. Over the past two decades, economic development in China has stimulated reforms that have attracted Western educators, resulting in student and staff mobility between Chinese and Western universities. In the newly developed market economy, many Chinese universities aim for worldwide recognition and further reform is predicted.

In Europe, international political agreements have driven the harmonisation of the HE system at a regional level and resulted in a supra-nationally standardised approach to internationalisation (Vaira 2004). The Bologna Declaration was signed by 29 countries in June 1999. 17 countries from Central and Eastern Europe joined 2001-2005, creating a 'two-speed Bologna' (Deca 2010). The overarching objective of the 'Bologna Process' was to create the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) by 2010 in order to increase the global competitiveness of European HE systems. The promotion of mobility is one of its founding principles. Major changes have taken place in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) HE since the early 1990s (Sadlak 2009): a departure from the previous conceptual and administrative model and an 'educational boom' in student enrolments. The countries of this region were given an opportunity to escape the past that required "courage, ingenuity, determination and not least, luck. " (5) on the road to the normalcy and development of HE which has occurred in recent years. China and CEE have strengthened ties throughout 2012/13 (Liu 2013). The Inaugural Conference of the China-CEE Co-operation Secretariat in 2012 signalled expanding collaboration and new initiatives to accommodate future de- velopments: CEE is therefore a link between 'old Europe' and a new relationship with China, with greater opportunities to develop true Sino-European staff mobility initiatives within HE.

The literature on the internationalisation of business suggests that culture clash and its impact on business performance are often complex and difficult to predict (Hofstede 1983). Misunderstanding of cultural differences between groups of people in different institutions creates difficulties not just in strategic planning, but also in the execution of developed strategies (Leknes/Carr 2004). The implications of cultural differences in business management have been studied from a range of perspectives by scholars (Barkema/Bell/Pennings 1996; Kumar/Nti 2004).

Nevertheless, sufficient understanding of international staff mobility in the HE context is lacking and non-existent in CEE. In light of the limits of prior research in international staff mobility, the aim of this study was to explore the implementation of staff exchange in a cross-cultural context. …

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