A Shared Vision?
Understanding Barriers to Internationalization
Keywords:internationalization, higher education, mixed methods, stakeholder analysis, Korea
This mixed methods study identified obstacles to internationalization in the Republic of Korea by examining differences in stakeholder perceptions at a large, private regional university. Questionnaire data (n = 127) and interview transcripts (n = 17) were analyzed. Independent samples t-tests of Korean and international stakeholders (administrators, faculty, and students) and one-way ANOVAs of faculty, students, and administrative staff were conducted to detect differences in the perceived importance and quality of internationalization at the university. Stakeholder groups shared high perceived importance for internationalization, but internationals perceived quality to be lower than Koreans (p = .023), and faculty lower than both students (p = .03) and administrative staff (p = .025). Qualitative analysis revealed differences rooted in inconsistent conceptualizations of internationalization among stakeholder groups. Resentment, confusion, a lack of communication, and low organizational commitment emerged as barriers. Without a change in approach, internationalization efforts at Korean institutions of higher education will likely stall.
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