Jin, J. and Horta, H. (2018). Same university, same challenges? Development strategies of two schools at a prestigious Chinese university in a changing higher education landscape. Tertiary Education and Management, 24(2): 95-114.
In a globalized world, universities face challenges adapting to changing environmental pressures and expectations of legitimacy. Studies on the topic have tended to focus on universities in North America and Europe, while Chinese universities have received less attention, perhaps due to their status as latecomers to global higher education. Based on institutional theory and resource dependence theory, this study examines the development process of two schools with different characteristics in a prestigious public Chinese university. Based on document and interview analyses, the findings indicate that both schools advocate internationalization as a development strategy but for different reasons. In response to the changing environment, one school continues to conform to the institutional environment; meanwhile, the other is competing in the task environment while also adhering to the university’s and the state’s norms, beliefs, demands and expectations. Based on the analysis, this article recommends that Chinese policymakers allow proactive schools willing to further their positioning in national and global higher education systems to have more autonomy and leeway in developing themselves.