Macquarie University
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Work integrated learning in transnational higher education: undergraduate business programmes in Vietnam

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posted on 2022-03-28, 22:57 authored by Christine Bilsland
This thesis examines the value of work integrated learning (WIL) in a transnational education environment (TNE) in Vietnam through an in-depth investigation of stakeholder perspectives. Research focused on transnational education is growing, along with research on work integrated learning, however there is little published research that investigates the value that universities with transnational campuses provide by delivering WIL programmes offshore. WIL programmes and building collaborative relationships with WIL industry partners is resource-intensive, even in domestic university environments. The challenge of cultivating and maintaining mutually-beneficial relationships with industry, and understanding the external learning context in order to plan and maintain successful locally-relevant WIL learning experiences is magnified in TNE environments that differ in sociocultural, educational, legal and industry contexts from the university's home country. This research uses a constructionist grounded theory methodology that aimed to discover fundamental insights that contribute to effective WIL processes in Vietnam. Although university internships are commonplace in that country, there is a systemic lack of connection between education and industry. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 48 participants from three external stakeholder groups of an Australian university that delivers undergraduate business degrees in Vietnam: alumni, work supervisors of interns, and human resource managers. Alumni perceived internships as transformative learning experiences valuable to transition from TNE study to local working environments. Intern work supervisors reported that communication with academics demonstrated the university's care and professionalism, and were positive about collaborating to improve intern learning. Human resource managers perceived graduate attitudes and mindset as crucial to graduate work-readiness and stated that practical exposure was a crucial skill-shaping factor but expressed ambivalence about the work-readiness of some foreign and TNE graduates despite their skill levels. Results are limited in scope to Vietnam, but a proposed conceptual framework based on stakeholder theory indicates that institutional support for WIL generates locally-relevant student learning outcomes, mutually-beneficial collaborative relationships between frontline academic and industry staff, and wider institutional benefits that are particularly valuable in the TNE environment.


Table of Contents

Chapter One. Introduction : work integrated learning in a transnational higher education environment - Vietnam -- Chapter Two. Work integrated learning in transnational education and Vietnam -- Chapter Three. Intern work supervisors building frontline collaboration -- Chapter Four. Alumni : the transnational university and internship experience -- Chapter Five. Human resource manager perceptions -- Chapter Six. Discussion, implications and conclusions -- Appendices.


Includes bibliographical references Thesis by publication.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Business and Education, Department of Marketing and Management

Department, Centre or School

Department of Marketing and Management

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Leanne Carter

Additional Supervisor 1

Leigh N. Wood


Copyright Christine Bilsland 2016. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (xxii, 313 pages) diagrams, tables

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