Strategic management of internationalization in higher education institutions: the lens of international office professionals

BULUT ŞAHİN B., EMİL S., Okur S., Seggie F. N.

Tertiary Education and Management, 2023 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11233-023-09121-2
  • Journal Name: Tertiary Education and Management
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ABI/INFORM, EBSCO Education Source, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center)
  • Keywords: Internationalization, Strategic management, Institutionalization, International office professionals
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The need for strategic planning of the internationalization process in universities is inevitable. The key stakeholders in higher education institutions (HEIs) are expected to be involved in the strategy-making process. It is argued that international office professionals (IPs) are one of these key stakeholders and need to be part of strategy development. The study aims to explore IPs’ conceptualization of internationalization, their needs, and roles in the universities, as well as their perceptions of strategic planning, management, and institutionalization of internationalization in European and Turkish universities. In this qualitative research, 23 semi-structured interviews with IPs showed that they are not sufficiently involved in the strategy-making process and could not contribute to this with their expertise as expected. This non-involvement observed in both settings has led them to imitate quantitative global strategies similar to that of universities, like increasing the number of international students. Moreover, the comparative analysis showed that European universities utilize more democratic and participatory decision-making than Turkish universities, which have little or no participation of IPs in decision-making in internationalization.