Bordogna, Claudia (2016) How do the Activities of Faculty Members affect Relationships and Partnership Developments in Transnational Higher Education Contexts? A Study of two Sino-British Transnational Higher Education Partnerships. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

For too long, transnational higher education (TNE) has been linked to discourse predominately focused upon strategic implementation, quality assurance and pedagogy. Whilst these are important when designing and managing cross-border programmes, there is a lack of research which focuses on the way in which social interactions influence the pace, and development of TNE partnerships. How faculty members engage with each other across borders and interpret each other’s actions and associate meanings are arguably critical to the way international partnerships develop. The research presented aims to positively contribute towards an understanding of how activity undertaken by faculty members at the operational stage of TNE ‘joint’ partnerships, affect the development of social capital, and the effect this has on a partnership’s overall transformation.
Embedded within a critical realist paradigm, representing a stratified and transformational ontology, appreciative of both the objective and subjective dimensions of reality (Bhaskar, 2008) a multiple-case study design comprising of two Sino-British ‘joint’ partnerships provides the method in which to analyse the operational practices of faculty members. Drawing upon data taken from interviews conducted in China and the UK, data is analysed using various theoretical frameworks, including third generation cultural historical activity theory (CHAT)(Engeström 2001), transformational model of social action (TMSA) (Archer, 1995) and elements of social action theory (Weber, 1978).
This research concludes, that for Sino-British ‘joint’ partnerships to positively progress and become institutionalised (Eddy, 2010) over time, those tasked with initiating international alliances should consider the development of relationships between operational faculty members. Partnership design and construction is critical in enabling these relationships to develop. Findings suggest that three underlying mechanisms, time, historicity (legacies), culture and motive, influence the activities of faculty members. Structures and systems that develop over time must consider these dimensions, so that faculty member communication and emotional responses remain positive, thereby encouraging the access and mobilisation of resources embedded in the partnership network. Moreover, the consequences of such social interactions are to produce affective regard, respect, trust and confidence amongst operational employees. Faculty member relationships are fundamental in ensuring Sino-British partnerships positively transform, and strengthen over time.

FINAL_AMENDED_THESIS_2016.pdf - Accepted Version
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