Strategic alliances: an evaluation of the benefits for selected Zambian universities
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This study was an evaluation of the benefits of strategic alliances to Zambian universities conducted at University of Zambia, Cavendish and University of Africa. In order to conduct an investigation, the study adopted both qualitative and quantitative methods following the descriptive design. The study sample comprised of 60 respondents sampled using purposive method from from two (2) private and one (1) Government University in Lusaka District. The study adopted a questionnaire survey to collect data and the data was analyzed thematically and statistically using inferential and descriptive statistics. The objectives of this study were; to determine the benefits of strategic alliances in the universities, to establish the challenges of strategic alliances by the participating universities in Zambia, to establish strategies that can be adopted to form beneficial strategic alliances and to probe the effect of strategic alliance on Zambian university. Results of this study revealed that there were benefits in strategic alliances which among others includes, lecturer collaboration in research and student exchange. The assumption of normality was evaluated and found tenable for all groups. The assumption of homogeneity of variances was tested and found tenable using Leven’s test, F (2, 27,600) = .138, p= .872. The Anova was significant evidence to reject the null hypothesis and conclude there are significant benefits of strategic alliances in Zambian universities. However, the actual difference in the mean score between groups was quite small based on Cohen’s (1988) conventions for interpreting effect size. The results for the independent variable, students and lecturer benefits (M= 1.78, SD=.585), student exchange (M=1.70, SD= .671), were statistically significant (t (80) = -9.655, p < .001). Additionally, student performance through lecturer collaboration (M= 2.05, SD= 1.21), library services (M= 1.73, SD=1.13), (t (73) = -7.941, p < .001). Results of the Pearson correlation indicated that there was a significant positive association between the performance due to lecturer collaboration and strategic alliances in universities; between student exchange and improved library services and infrastructure development and strategic partnership, r (60) = .87, p<. 001) and moderately negatively correlated between student exchange and infrastructure r (60) = .41, p < .001). The general regression model was not statistically significant in the three data sets: on nature(private or public) , F(1,58) = 9.894, p = > .001, size of the university , F(1,57) = 12.417, p = .001, infrastructure, F(1,56) = 6.089, p= .003 with the three variables explaining about 19% (R2 = .438), of the performance variances. The current findings concluded that there are benefits in strategic alliances among universities in Zambian. Therefore, the study recommended, among other things, that universities should consider entering into strategic alliances so as to achieve competitive positioning and alliance partners should be carefully and thoroughly be screened so as to reduce conflict arising due to differences in culture as well as incongruence of management ideologies. Key words: Strategic alliances, higher education, partnership, mergers.
The University of Zambia