A framework for examining international students’ recruitment from B2B relationship perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper proposes a conceptual model to examine international students’ recruitment from B2B relationship perspective. Since 1996, the number of international students coming to the UK is increasing from 198,064 to 435,235 in 2012 at a growth rate of 7% annually (HESA 2012). The significant importance of international students segment to the higher education institutions and their’ countries has been highlighted by a number of scholars in terms of economical, cultural, political, educational benefits. Since the early 2000’s, the considerable levels of educational cooperation which are between UWS and its partner intuitions has become a phenomenon which attracts a large number of international students. It is evident that universities have started to adopt approach similar to industrial and commercial companies where competitive advantages are sustained through cooperative inter-organizational networks-competing through supply chains and not just intra-organizational integration. Moreover, the extant literatures on business relationship between buyer and seller suggest that general consensus is that strong relationships provide substantial benefits to both parties (Ravald & Grönroos, 1996). Brown et al( 1994) state that a crucial element in the marketing of HE institutes is based on a relationship marketing (RM) approach, which is characterized as helping to develop and foster interactions between the organization and its customers. Simultaneously, in higher education marketing extant literature, most of studies focus on student side in the following areas: (1) International students’ motivations to study abroad and their evaluation of the service quality in higher education institutes; (2) International students from diverse cultural backgrounds differing in their learning behaviour, learning style from local students; (3)pull and push factors on university selection from international students’ perception; (4) student retention and total quality management ;(5)branding, segmentation strategy (Nicholls et al., 1995; Tonks and Farr, 1995; Mazzarol, 1998; Seeman and O’Hara, 2006; Nguyen, 2009; Hemsley-Brown and Oplatka, 2010; Vauterin et al., 2011; Helgesen 2008; Gray et al 2003;Cheung et al 2010). By pay attention to formation and maintenance of educational alliances, motivation, delivery issue, cross-cultural issue, commitment, trust, empathy, respect, sincerity, longevity, and sincerity have been touched by Willis ( 2001a, 2008, 2001b, 2006); Street (1992); Ross (1993), and Ross and Liu(1998). Therefore, inadequate knowledge of marketing for higher education, lack of understanding in B2B relationship within higher education sector indicates the gaps that we need to fill in.

This paper is also the theoretical part of a PhD research project that draws on relationship marketing theory to explore B2B relationship and its quality in higher education context with four specific objectives, namely:
- Analyse stages of B2B relationship
- Explore what constitute B2B relationship
- Frame B2B relationship management
- Develop measurement for a B2B RQ with both theoretic and empirical support in higher education context

The focus of this paper is on reporting the development of initial theoretical framework, authors posit relationship between university and partner institutions as business-to-business partnership where both parties possess mutual goal of nurturing a shared project in which they have both invested. Thus, we model these relationships are not only close, long-term, strategic with high levels of trust, commitment, mutuality, satisfaction and co-operation; but also with increasing interdependence; higher value and higher risk(Doherty & Alexander, 2004; Dwyer et al, 1987; O’Malley & Tynan, 2000; Nassimbeni, 2004). Based on relevant relationship marketing, B2B relationship theory, networking theory, process theory literature, a theoretical framework is proposed to examine B2B dyadic relationships particularly useful for the focal university and its partner institutions with the purpose of international students’ recruitment. It aims to interpret relationship management explicitly in higher education setting, involving analysis on B2B relationship process stage, investigation on relationship constructs and its dimensions, value creation and measurement issue. Finally, authors close paper with further empirical case study research design.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIdeas in Marketing: Finding the New and Polishing the Old
Subtitle of host publicationDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
EditorsK. Kubacki
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-10951-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-10950-3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
PublisherSpringer Nature


  • international student
  • relationship marketing
  • high education sector
  • theoretical part
  • partner institution


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