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