The Entrepreneurial Dimensions of Transnational Education

The Entrepreneurial Dimensions of Transnational Education

Thomas D. Eatmon (Niels Brock Copenhagen Business College, Denmark), Rachel Granger (Leicester Castle Business School, De Montfort University, UK), Bruno F. Abrantes (Niels Brock Copenhagen Business College, Denmark) and Charlotte Forsberg (Niels Brock Copenhagen Business College, Denmark)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0174-0.ch009

Abstract

Transnational education is a growing trend in higher education that decouples learning from the location of the awarding institution. However, few studies of entrepreneurial universities have considered entrepreneurial universities in the context of the changing geographic landscape of education. This chapter examines the entrepreneurial dimensions of transnational education using empirical evidence from a transnational partnership between De Montfort University and Niels Brock Copenhagen Business College. The authors conclude that the commercialization of knowledge through transnational education requires processes and interactions that foster regional development and thus have implications for social and economic development.
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Introduction

Since the early 1980s, theories of economic growth have recognized the importance of education, innovation, and human capital formation as critical factors responsible for the development of a country’s economy and the sustenance of long-term economic growth (Pelinescu, 2015). As global economies have transitioned to knowledge economies there has been an increasing demand for knowledge production and dissemination, accelerated by the globalisation of markets and progress in information and communications technologies. Against this backdrop, the activities of universities have grown as their role in knowledge formation and dissemination has become central to economic and social development. An increasing demand for knowledge growth from industry and government has led to the proactive measures of the “entrepreneurial university” that seeks to take a more active role in influencing economic and social change (Clark, 1998). The entrepreneurial university now contributes to economic and social development through the spillovers created from its multiple missions of teaching, research, and entrepreneurial activities (Guerrero et al., 2015).

Research on entrepreneurial universities has sought to explain the motivation, behavior, and impact of these organizations from perspectives of both internal processes as well as external influences (D’este and Perkmann, 2011; Guerrero et al., 2015; O’shea et al., 2005; Clark, 2004). However, few studies of entrepreneurial universities have considered entrepreneurial universities in the context of the changing geographic landscape of education. Transnational education, a growing trend in higher education, decouples learning from the location of the awarding institution. According to Madge et al. (2015), the “transnational eduscape” is rapidly changing, evidenced by such developments as prioritisation of internationalisation in higher education institutions (HEIs), establishment of higher education (HE) partnerships, and the creation of branches and satellite campuses around the world.

The international branch campus is a form of transnational education that is owned, at least in part, by a foreign higher education institution; operated under the name of the foreign education institution; and provides on-site face-to face instruction leading to a degree awarded by the foreign education provider (Wilkings and Huisman, 2012; C-BERT, 2019). In 2016 there were approximately 250 international branch campuses serving 180,000 students around the world (Garrett et al., 2016). Some scholars view these arrangements as entrepreneurial activities offering financial, academic, and reputational advantages to universities (Shams and Huisman, 2012; Marginson, 2006; van Vught, 2008; Dunning and Lundan, 2008; McBurnie and Pollock, 2000). However, few studies have examined these activities to consider implications for regional development.

In what ways might transnational education, specifically in the creation of an international branch campus, demonstrate characteristics of entrepreneurship and regional development? In this chapter we examine this research question. A review of the literature is first presented in order to offer a framework for analysis. We then present evidence from a transnational partnership between De Montfort University and Niels Brock Copenhagen Business College using data collected through archival documents and direct observation in order to enhance our understanding of theoretical concepts and to examine those concepts within a natural setting (Zahra et al., 2014).

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