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The Appropriation of Western Management Concepts and Methods in Omani Higher Education

Al Balushi, Sabah Ahmed Ali (2017) The Appropriation of Western Management Concepts and Methods in Omani Higher Education. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

The government of Oman continues to invest heavily in Western management methods and experts. While there is increased interest in exploring ways to maximize and align such Western importations in the developing state of Oman, there is a lack of research on how Omanis actually perceive and negotiate Western philosophies. Scant attention has been given both to the imported nature and the impact of Western methods in education. This study employs a mixed methods research strategy, comprising an online questionnaire and semi-structured interviews to examine the specific ways people at different levels of the Omani education system understand and appropriate Western methods. The study proceeds progressively through three levels of penetrating analysis: a quantitative-qualitative analysis of the questionnaire (n= 168) that identifies the perceptions of end users; a content analysis of the interview data (n= 17) that identifies the perspectives of an elite group of top officials, decision makers and senior managers in higher education institutions; and an additional Foucauldian discourse analysis of the same interview data designed to identify the specific narratives and rhetorical strategies adopted by the interviewees as they reflect and are influenced by their level of power and positions. The study reveals that end users of the system use a variety of arguments and narratives: identity defensiveness, scepticism, pro-Western pragmatism, the adoption of a middle position, or topic avoidance. However, the elite interviewees approach the practice with narratives of defence, disapproval, compliance or tension, which are influenced by their level of authority within the higher education landscape. This wide disparity of views reflects the continued division in Muslim-Arab thought towards the West and the continued dilemma of how to reconcile the demand for modernisation whilst preserving traditional Islamic culture. The study findings contribute to the general field of international education and the specific issue of the extension of Western management methods in Omani education. Finally, the study adds to the understanding of Omani society as part of the broader Arab Middle East.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Department of Education (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.745738
Depositing User: Mrs Sabah Ahmed Ali Al Balushi
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2018 09:25
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2020 13:03
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20286

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