Coopetition in education: Collaborating in a competitive environment

Daniel Muijs*, Nataliya Rumyantseva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


While educational theory has often seen collaboration and competition as incompatible, there is increasing evidence that collaboration persists in educational markets characterized by competition. In this paper, we use the theoretical lens of 'coopetition', a relationship between organizations involving competition in some segments and cooperation in others, to study this phenomenon and look at the applicability of this concept to education. A case study approach was used to study collaboration and competition in a network of eleven 6th-form colleges, which teach 16-18-year-old students in England. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with managers in each college. Documentary evidence was collected such as websites, brochures, and publicity materials. Results show that the collaborative network was perceived positively. The concept of coopetition was clearly applicable to this network, with collaboration and competition equally informing college strategies and policies, and many aspects of coopetition theory applying to the network. However, challenges to future collaboration were identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Educational Change
Issue number1
Early online date08 Sep 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Collaboration
  • Competition
  • Coopetition
  • Networking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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