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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19141

Title: Transnational Private Authority in Education Policy: A Case Study of Microsoft Corporation in Jordan and South Africa
Authors: Bhanji, Zahra
Advisor: Mundy, Karen
Department: Theory and Policy Studies in Education
Keywords: Education policy
Comparative education
Transnational corporations in education
Jordan education
South Africa education
Microsoft Corporation
Private authority in education
Global governance and education
Private sector and education
Top down and bottom up education policy
Corporate social responsibility and education
Accountability and education
Government sovereignty and education
International education
Education policy actor
Global actor in education
Transnational education policy
Transnational education actor
Globalization and education
Microsoft Partner's in Learning program
International relations and education
Education policy networks
Corporate diplomacy in education
Public private partnerships in education
Education Memorandum of Understanding
Microsoft and education
Corporate social engagement in education
Corporate power in education
Social constructivism and education
Rationalism and education
Issue Date: 25-Feb-2010
Abstract: This thesis presents a case study of Microsoft Corporation’s Partners in Learning (PiL) program, an example of transnational policy authority in education, with two embedded case studies of PiL in Jordan and South Africa. The constructivist and rationalist approaches highlight the changing nature of governance through the cultural and strategic shifts that led to Microsoft’s policy role in education. Microsoft’s strategic profit interests and its corporate-social-responsibility aspiration to play a policy role in education influenced its educational footprint. From a top-down perspective, Microsoft used supranational forms of power by implementing its global PiL blueprint through similar PiL programs worldwide. From a bottom-up perspective, Microsoft used “localization practices” by engaging different subnational agents and used different strategies to gain footholds in two very different political and policy contexts. Microsoft’s top-down and bottom-up approaches link the supranational policy arena to the subnational or subgovernmental. Microsoft’s economic power and strategic engagement gave it entry into education. It gained expert authority from its extensive history and experience in education. Its expert authority was experessed through strategic relationship building through diplomacy and partnerships, policy networks, and the sharing of best practices. The company was however not able to claim absolute legitimacy because of resistance in both countries. This thesis highlights that at the governmental level, sovereignty does not disappear when transnational corporations become involved in education at the national level. Instead, nation- states become strategic sites for the restructuring of global policy roles. The Jordanian government became a public facilitator, by working with Microsoft to implement a stand-alone PiL program. The South African government became a public integrator, by implementing the PiL program within government policies and programs. Power was also redistributed within both countries, moving away from government education officials towards the monarchy in Jordan and the presidency in South Africa. The findings of the study highlight the need for corporations engaged in public education to be governed within instituted accountability measures, for appropriate partnership frameworks, and for governance tools that can both effectively engage companies in education and ensure that they work within common goals and values set out by international education organizations.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19141
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Theory and Policy Studies in Education - Doctoral theses

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