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Title: From apart to a part : assessing initiatives to overcome the impact of spatial distance on the management of schools
Author: Talib, Ammar Izzuddin
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 3011
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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Over the last two decades or so a growing number of education providers have established offshore campuses with the intent of offering the same quality of education that is provided onshore. Yet these new initiatives bring with them their own set of challenges, including whether or not it is possible to deliver the same quality, and what ways of working best ensure this. This case study explores the extent to which spatial distance impacts the management of offshore campuses. It identifies and evaluates some of the initiatives undertaken by education providers to reduce its impact and, ultimately, asks whether the current corpus of education management literature holds relevance to the management of spatial distance. A study of a school with 23 branches spread across the Indian Subcontinent, the Middle East and East Africa was carried out with the intention of identifying and assessing the means employed by it to reduce the impact of physical distance. Interviews with members of the head office as well as senior school staff garnered their views on the impact of distance and their assessment of initiatives to overcome it. The school's manuals were also studied for an insight on how spatial distance was formally perceived and addressed. The theoretical understanding of spatial distance afforded by topology was used to analyse the data gathered. The head office is considered as a mediator that connects various nodes into a network. This enables it to dissolve spatial distance, extend its power and make its leadership and authority felt. The head office then utilizes various management initiatives as intermediaries, with the intention of sustaining and perpetuating the network. Organizational norms and values were found to be the most influential intermediaries, but even they require tangible and robust management systems in order to be effective. The study shows that physical distance still has an impact, and its influence needs to be considered when formulating policies for offshore campuses. It is also evident that the education management literature does not adequately consider physical distance as an independent influence, and thereby does not specifically address the management of offshore campuses. It needs to compensate for this by incorporating sound practices from various strands of management literature as well as from other fields such as topology in order to be able to address the challenges of managing spatial distance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available