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International education is becoming increasingly important in higher education, but does this mean that internationalization looks the same at every university? A comparative case study examines how, why, and to what extent internationalization is implemented or decoupled at different universities. A total of fifteen qualitative interviews were carried out with those who make, manage, and implement policies and practices related to internationalization at two institutions of higher education: Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada, and Georgia Southern University in Georgia, USA.

The interviews reveal that the degree of decoupling is higher at GSU than at Laurier. While macro forces, such as government policies and accreditation bodies can shape internationalization strategies, so too can the internal culture of the respective university. This research finds that there are a variety of factors that account for these differences in internationalization strategies and the degree to which they are implemented or decoupled, and demonstrates the importance of multiIlevel analysis in understanding organizational complexities.

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