Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Society

A Validation of the Short-Term International Teaching Assignments Scale

Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Society

A Validation of the Short-Term International Teaching Assignments Scale

Article excerpt


Many researchers highlighted the need to develop organizational guidelines to enable the effective support and maintenance of critical human resources during expatriate sojourns. However, lack of instruments that measure perceived support for fly-in, fly-out academics has been a shortcoming in past research. In this study, the development of the Short-term International Teaching Assignments Scale (STITAS) is described. The STITAS was composed of 13 items aimed to measure four factors of perceived support: organisational support, HR support, financial support and career support. The STITAS was piloted with 193 fly-in, fly-out academics from 24 Australian universities that participated actively in transnational education. Data analyses involved Exploratory Factor Analysis and Confirmatory Factor Analysis. Cronbach's alpha of the STITA was found to be 0.85, and the construct validity with the fourfactor structure was confirmed with GFI = 0.917.

Keywords: Instrument Development; Academics; Short-Term Assignments; Australia.


In recent decades, international business has grown rapidly, leading to heightened pressures on organisations to expand operations into the global business arena (Ahsan & Musteen 2011). Globalisation, together with neo-liberalism have transformed universities from parochial stable organisations into internationally competitive corporations (Marginson 1999), leading to permanently changed local institutions (Marginson 2003). The higher education sector is not an exception to this push. Australian universities are increasingly reliant on income generated through teaching from onshore and offshore students (Naidoo 2009). Neo-liberalism asserts that the market is the core institution of modern - capitalist - societies and that both domestic and international politics are (and should be) increasingly concerned with making markets work well (Cerny 2004, p. 4).

In the globalised neo-liberal age, higher education policies have focused on developing entrepreneurial practices, moulding universities into enterprise-oriented universities (Marginson & Considine 2000b). A number of authors (Bolton & Nie 2010; Adam 2001; McBurnie & Ziguras 2001) concur with the view that higher education is part of a growing globalisation of trade in goods and services. As a result, market mechanisms such as funding grant cuts to encourage Australian universities to create revenue and reduce dependence on federal government funds have been implemented (Meek & Hayden 2005). In adapting to changes associated with neo-liberalism, funding for Australian universities comes primarily from fee-paying Australian and international students, research activities, and from return on investment of capital assets (Bay 2011). This market approach has indeed helped to promulgate international student intake in Australian universities (Zheng 2010).

International Development Program of Australian Universities and Colleges Ltd (IDP) predicted that the number of international students pursuing education in or from a foreign country will increase to 3.1 million in 2025 (McBurnie & Ziguras 2001). Naidoo (2006) agreed that the growth in export of education has shifted from aid to trade. According to the IDP (2010), the demand for Australian international higher education will grow from 163,345 in 2005 to 290,848 in 2025. While much of this teaching occurs at onshore university campuses, there has been a growth in the use of teaching partnerships in Asia, where courses are delivered by Australian-based academics (Ziguras 2007). Table 1 shows the growth in transnational education enrolments between 2004 and 2011, demonstrating an almost three fold increase in international students since 2004 (Australia Education International 2011; Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011; DEEWR 2011; DEST 2011).

Given the changing topography of higher education, transnational education presents a unique opportunity for academic staff to be internationally mobile (Onsman 2010). …

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