Purpose – The purpose of this research is to identify and critically evaluate key issues faced by an institution in the quest to implement higher education internationalization.
Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative research is conducted in a post-1992 UK university. A total of 20 interviewees from three key departments participated in this project. Content analysis, critical discourse analysis and categorisation of meaning were applied on analysing three sources of data collection.
Findings – This study identifies critical issues that impede international strategy implementation within an institutional context. These issues include resource allocation, communication, operational process, cooperation and coordination, organizational culture, resistance to change, student support and external environment. Researching findings indicate that most issues are rooted internally. Higher education (HE) internationalization is deemed to be integration and cohesion.
Research limitations/implications – This research contributes to rich understanding of challenges of the present case study; therefore, further research in this area is encouraged to test these highlighted issues through quantitative population studies in other institutions.
Practical implications – Research findings show different understanding of critical issues of HE internationalization, and highlight the areas that need to be improved. This study encourages different key departments to conduct and evaluate internationalization internally.
Originality/value – This research suggests that HE internationalization is primarily an internal matter of integration rather than a process driven only by external environment. This study addresses particular forms of critical issues within an institutional context through a qualitative analysis.