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This paper proposes a hybrid approach to the management of stakeholder conflicting expectations in higher education (HE) by combining Stakeholder Theory (ST) and a participatory approach. In this paper, we use an ex post facto approach to retrospectively report Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) experience in managing stakeholder conflicting expectations in developing the BA in English Language and Literature Program as a case study. We show that for an effective management of stakeholder conflicting expectations in HE, the three perspectives of ST (i.e., descriptive, instrumental and normative) have to be taken together as a unified approach with the normative perspective occupying the core. In addition, we argue that this unified approach should be complemented by a participatory approach to add an interactive dimension to stakeholder conflict management and allow stakeholders to become active conflict-solvers. The paper concludes that this hybrid approach is essential to manage stakeholder conflicting expectations in academic program development and to project academic program development in HE as a shared social responsibility.


Higher education academic program development conflict management stakeholder theo-ry participatory approach

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