When change and communication collide : The necessity of international communication as a reaction to national change

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Ekonomihögskolan, ELNU; Linnéuniversitetet/Ekonomihögskolan, ELNU

Abstract: Background: In June 2010, Swedish parliament decided that Swedish academia should compete with quality and introduce tuition fees for foreign students. This means that higher education will remain free of charge for citizens of EU/EEA and that third-country students will have to pay a tuition fee for studying in Sweden. Problem discussion: Managing the introduction of tuition fees is a matter of priorities among the various Swedish universities. Depending on the size and budget of the university, the concentration of the change has varied. Linnaeus University is at the moment concentrating on recruiting national students and building their brand within the Swedish boarders, ignoring the consequences that the lack of international students will lead to. We question how the university should be able to maintain an international experience for the student, teachers and researchers unless they choose to invest in international relations and internal marketing to sell their brand. Research question: What could Swedish academia do to communicate their quality of education and their brand on an international market in order to attract international students? Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to describe and analyze how Linnaeus University, and other institutions in similar situations, can promote their brand on an international market in order to successfully maintain and communicate the core values of their brand. We also wish to inspire similar organizations to be active and work with the situation rather than approaching change with a wait and see strategy. Methodology: We have chosen to make a qualitative research with The Actors perspective. We quickly discovered that this is the ultimate method for us since we are not trying to find any absolute truth, but rather gain knowledge and understanding of how different institutions handle the same situation. To create this understanding, our primary data has been collected through discussions with representatives from various universities and governmental organizations within Sweden. Findings: Our findings are based on several factors in relation to the emerging situation out of the introduction of tuition fees. We identified two major issues regarding inactive leadership and absent decisions. We believe that this is based on the paradigm shift in global Academia, from the classical institution to an organization within a competitive market - with students as their customers. We also found a lack of experience within Swedish Academia when it comes to communication internationally in an effective and efficient manner. Both issues show the urgent necessity for Academia to learn how to communicate their brand internationally in order to successfully attract international students. Keywords: Communication, Change management, Branding, International marketing, Introduction of Tuition Fees, Swedish Academia

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