An Evaluation of Organisation Processes Associated with the Transition to a more Internationalised Campus: an Investigation in Thai Universities
This thesis explores the endeavours by managements in Thai universities to facilitate the changes needed to achieve more internationalised campuses. Globalisation has resulted in pressure on universities worldwide to change many aspects of their services in order to respond to student demand and mobility. In addition Higher Education in Thailand is already being affected by the pressures being brought about by the introduction of the new requirements of the Association of South East Asian Nations ( ASEAN COMMUNITY 2015) such as the free movement of people of ASEAN countries. The Thai government has introduced policies and plans concerned with education reform in order to respond to these pressures and to compete with its neighbouring ASEAN countries. Realising a lack of management flexibility and inefficient management in Thai universities, the Thai government has been requiring universities to work towards greater autonomy (flexible self- management) whilst adhering to good governance. Using thematic content analysis based on qualitative research, this research examines the understanding of internationalisation as the expressions of staff’s experience in universities in Thailand and evaluates the organisational processes which facilitate the change to a more internationalised campus in Thai universities. This research evaluates the appropriateness of organisational processes in Thai universities by using the theory of communities of practice, in which cooperation and the sharing of skills and knowledge are dominant themes. Whilst communities of practice as a way of describing and explaining organisational processes has been beneficial in Western contexts, this does not appear to be the case in an Eastern organisational setting. This research finds very little evidence of the characteristics such as participation of staff in decision making, the sharing of ideas and knowledge and a cooperative approach. An analysis of findings has shown that a much more accurate and reliable explanation for the approaches by management to the internationalisation of their campuses can be found in the constraints on management structures and behaviour, imposed by Thai cultural values. Thai management structures are based on strict hierarchical patterns in which the rank and status of individuals are predominant and which indicate the extent of the power which they wield. These structures are reinforced by ‘ego orientation’ by which the ‘self’ is protected and given priority importance. If Thai universities are to respond effectively to global and regional pressures for changes to their services and to the autonomy required by the Thai government policy, their managements will need to move towards good governance. This will require university managements to release the hold that Thai cultural values has currently on managements and to develop more open, cooperative and flexible structure systems. The contribution of this study is that the communities of practice theory is shown to be contextually restricted to geographically more developed educational systems. Besides, it has been shown not to apply in Thailand’s developing internationalisation context. Finally, the ideal organisation model is suggested which hopes to provide effective ways to remove Thai cultural values barriers to successful internationalisation of universities in Thailand.
- PhD