The nature and processes of internationalisation at a French Grand Ecole de Management.
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Globalisation has changed the higher education landscape dramatically in the past 20 years, especially for business schools. Accordingly, universities have had to adopt different internationalisation strategies in order to cope with this shifting context of globalisation and its many ramifications. In this thesis, a phenomenological approach has been adopted to examine how one French business school, ESC Clermont, has implemented internationalisation. Through this methodological approach the nature and processes of internationalisation have been examined using the lived experiences of participants at the school. The research shows how institutional engagement, strategic management, happenstance and a specific organisational structure shaped the internationalisation processes. An internal culture of openness and a commitment to language learning also contributed to furthering the internationalisation agenda. The findings show how the interaction between structure and agent were crucial in the school’s internationalisation process. This research also demonstrated that individual initiatives only happen within a favourable context which is created essentially by the culture and driven by the leadership. This study has also demonstrated the need for integrative strategic management of the organisational processes and the faculty. An important finding of this research is that internationalisation is a complex process that requires constant interaction between the people in the institution and the changing environment. The thesis presents a framework to assist in understanding the dynamics between the various dimensions of strategy, operations and faculty management in the internationalisation process. These dynamics are complex and require sensitive, on-going strategic management and open policies to ensure that the faculty members buy into the internationalisation activities. Finally, this study has enabled the researcher to reflect on his own role in the internationalisation process.