Doctoral Dissertation

14.12.2018 M.Sc. Ville Sarpo (Jy­väs­ky­lä Uni­ver­si­ty School of Busi­ness and Eco­no­mics, Entrepreneurship)


14.12.2018 12:00 — 15:00

Location: Muu , Ruusupuisto, Helena-sali
M.Sc. (Econ.) Ville Sarpo defends his doctoral dissertation in Entrepreneurship ”Architecture of dissonance. A study on the strategic management process of higher education internationalization”.


In this study I analyze the neglected notion of organizational architecture in the strategic process of internationalization in the context of higher education. I examine the internationalization process through the development and management of international master’s degree programmes and their relation to the broader strategy of one particular Finnish university. I interviewed acting coordinators and directors of the programmes regarding their view on the administrative work, as well as the structures and resources, related to the programmes. Strategy documents, internal evaluations, and statistics were also analyzed.

The omission of an explicit strategy and strategic program for internationalization led to the marginalization of the international programmes. The strategic ambiguity contributed to a weak division of labor between the central administration and the faculties (and the respective programmes). Research and teaching staff assumed the coordinative responsibility and operational management. These individuals did not possess formal incentives to develop the programmes further. Championing activities within programmes were minimal due to deficiencies in the organization’s architecture. The analysis emphasizes the importance of identifying and supporting championing activities within the organization. These activities have the potential of pinpoint development areas and further enhance the emergence of new strategies and architecture. The findings suggest that the organization’s architecture and strategy failed to integrate international education into the traditional activities of the organization.

This study contributes to the existing literature on organizational architecture by expanding the notion of emergent architecture and how championing can influence the architecture. The study also adds to the research on higher education internationalization and its ramifications to the organization’s architecture.

Keywords: internationalization; organizational architecture; organizational design; strategy process; emergent strategy; higher education internationalization

Opponents Professor Janne Tienari (Hanken school of economics) and D.Sc. (Econ.) Mikko Laukkanen (Aalto University Executive Education), and Custos Professor Juha-Antti Lamberg (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in Finnish.

For further information: 
Ville Sarpo,, +358 40 7026 983
Communications Intern Miia Luoma,, +358 40 8054 656