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Power and control: managing agents for international student recruitment in higher education

Huang, I. Y., Raimo, V. and Humfrey, C. (2016) Power and control: managing agents for international student recruitment in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 41 (8). pp. 1333-1354. ISSN 0307-5079

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2014.968543


This multiple case-based study investigates the relationship between recruiting agents and the UK universities who act as their principals. The current extensive use of agents in UK higher education may be seen as an indicator of the financial impact made by international students. The study analyses the practice of agent management and explores the manner in which power and control interact. The study employed semi-structured interviews and group discussions involving up to 6 respondents from each of the 20 UK case institutions. The qualitative data reveal a considerable variation in the manner in which the universities manage their agency relationships. Through the joint consideration of control measures and use of power, five distinctive approaches have been identified. The study also reveals that over-dependence on agents reduces the power of the principal, and consequently, the principal’s ability to exercise control, particularly in highly competitive global and national markets.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Central Services > Office of the Vice Chancellor
ID Code:37976
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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