Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Applying the varieties of capitalism approach to higher education: A case study of the internationalisation strategies of German and British universities


Author Info

  • Graf, Lukas
Registered author(s):


    In recent years the global market for higher education has expanded rapidly while internationalisation strategies have been developed at university, national, as well as European levels, all with the aim to increase the competitiveness of higher education institutions. This paper asks how different institutional settings explain distinct national patterns found in the internationalisation of universities, observed to be based largely on either market coordination or strategic interaction of the involved actors. Existing concepts from the Varieties of Capitalism literature, such as institutional complementarity and comparative institutional advantage, are introduced to the comparative study of higher education systems and applied to develop a theoretical framework for an institutional analysis of university strategies in the global market for higher education. In a case study, the analytical framework is then deployed to contrast the internationalisation of universities in Germany and the United Kingdom. The internationalisation processes reflect the mode of coordination in the respective higher education systems and national models of capitalism. Further insights are that the conceptual toolbox of the Varieties of Capitalism approach can be fruitfully applied to higher education, and that it is possible to enhance the framework by adding the state as a significant factor in differentiation. -- Der globale Markt für Hochschulbildung ist in den letzten Jahren rasant gewachsen. Gleichzeitig wird die Internationalisierung von Universitäten auf verschiedensten Governance-Ebenen (z.B. Europäische Union, Bund und Länder, Hochschulverwaltung) stark forciert. In diesem Arbeitspapier wird der Frage nachgegangen, inwiefern die unterschiedlichen Muster in der Internationalisierung deutscher und britischer Universitäten durch nationale institutionelle Rahmenbedingungen begründet sind. Mit dem "komparativen institutionellen Vorteil" und der "institutionellen Komplementarität" werden konzeptionelle Bausteine aus der Varieties-of-Capitalism-Debatte aufgegriffen, um die Internationalisierungsprozesse deutscher und britischer Universitäten zu analysieren. Wie aus den Analysen hervorgeht, beruhen die internationalen Aktivitäten britischer Universitäten vorwiegend auf wettbewerbsbasierten Koordinationsmechanismen, wohingegen sie im deutschen Fall eher mit dem Konzept der strategischen Interaktion in Verbindung zu bringen sind. Dabei lässt sich feststellen, dass die Internationalisierungsprozesse maßgeblich vom Koordinierungsmodus im jeweiligen Hochschulsystem sowie dem nationalen Kapitalismusmodell beeinflusst werden. Weiterhin wird deutlich, dass das Forschungsfeld der Hochschulbildung von einer Anwendung des Varieties-of-Capitalism-Ansatzes profitieren kann, insbesondere, wenn dies unter einer stärkeren Berücksichtigung des Staates, dessen Regulierungsfunktion entscheidend zur Differenzierung der Internationalisierungsstrategien beiträgt, geschieht.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Skill Formation and Labor Markets with number SP I 2008-507.

    as in new window
    Date of creation: 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbslm:spi2008507

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Germany
    Phone: ++49 - 30 - 25491 - 0
    Fax: ++49 - 30 - 25491 - 684
    Web page:
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research



    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Powell, Justin J. W. & Solga, Heike, 2008. "Internationalization of vocational and higher education systems: A comparative-institutional approach," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Skill Formation and Labor Markets SP I 2008-501, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    2. A. E. Fernández Jilberto, 1991. "Introduction," International Journal of Political Economy, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 21(1), pages 3-9, April.
    3. Moerland, Pieter W., 1995. "Alternative disciplinary mechanisms in different corporate systems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 17-34, January.
    4. Amable, Bruno, 2003. "The Diversity of Modern Capitalism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199261147, September.
    5. Colin C. Williams, 2004. "Informal volunteering: Some lessons from the United Kingdom," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 613-616.
    6. Papatheodorou, Christos & Pavlopoulos, Dimitris, 2003. "Accounting for inequality in the EU: Income disparities between and within member states and overall income inequality," MPRA Paper 209, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Amable, Bruno, 1999. "Institutional complementarity and diversity of social systems of innovation and production," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 99-309, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    8. Schmidt, Vivien A., 2002. "The Futures of European Capitalism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199253685, September.
    9. Crouch, Colin, 2005. "Capitalist Diversity and Change: Recombinant Governance and Institutional Entrepreneurs," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286652, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)



    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbslm:spi2008507. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.