The intent of action is the achievement of something decisive. Within any business, decisiveness is hopefully linked to the successful generation of revenue due to the right product being introduced to the right market at the right time. The challenge is to ensure that once a product is released to the market, the most revenue possible can be earned. In the case of higher education, one potential product is online education offerings that provide learning opportunities to students who cannot participate in a traditional education. The development of digitized educational materials for online use, however, can be costly and subsequent revenue streams may generate little or no revenue, which has occurred in some instances for distance education programs.
Background: Increasing Globalization And E-Learning
Two phenomena characterizing business and education in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century are globalization and the use of Internet technologies (Jelen & Alon, 2004; Lim, 2004). Globalization is an ongoing process of breaking down barriers among nations and is often compared with the following phenomena: internationalization, liberalization, universalization, and westernization:
Internationalization refers to the increased interaction among people from different countries. Liberalization refers to the reduction of regulatory barriers. Universalization refers to the spread of people and cultural phenomena to all corners of the globe. Westernization refers to the process of greater homogenization and of the world becoming more western. (Scholte, 2000, cited inKaloudis, 2003, p.3)
Globalization is viewed as “a multifaceted, historical development with differential impact according to the place and the specific dimensions involved” (Glastra, Hake, & Schedler, 2004, p. 292). Effects of globalization have been observed in developments such as increased outsourcing and offshoring (Parry, 2004), street demonstrations opposing free trade (Mejia-Vergnaud, 2004), and men’s attire (Zelinsky, 2005). It is no longer possible for global companies to grow without projecting beyond the boundaries of a single nation; they face new challenges. For example, it is estimated that 100,000–170,000 jobs were lost in the U.S. between 2000 and 2003 due to offshoring (Parry, 2004), which indicates that the lost jobs are now maintained in other countries, and that some of them are likely operated under the management of U.S. companies. In addition, companies have to work smarter and faster to keep abreast of the information revolution created from globalization. However, they are suffering from a “leadership crisis,” as they desperately need leaders who can manage multiple cultures; the consistent corporate culture and a variety of local cultures (Wellins & Rioux, 2000).