Title: Strategic insights into the critical success factors online for-profit educational providers: case study

Authors: Amber A. Smith; Alan D. Smith; William T. Rupp

Addresses: Department of Kinesiology, Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX 76204-5647, USA ' Department of Management and Marketing, Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh, PA 15219-3099, USA ' Austin Peay University, Clarksville, TN 37044, USA

Abstract: The last decade has seen a dramatic growth of online educational service providers (OESPs) and a major paradigm shift from the traditional mode of instruction. Within a knowledge-based information-intensive society, or education, the internet has allowed for accessibility to convenient and affordable educational opportunities for self-improvement. Chief about these OESPs is the University of Phoenix (UOP), which older, part-time students seeking the skills vital to success in this information-intensive environment. This creation of virtual learning communities has redefined the strategic success factors that managers must operate in. The Apollo Group, Inc., established in 1976, provides higher education to a non-traditional student population through its four subsidiaries: UOP, Institute for Professional Development, The College for Financial Planning Institutes, and Western International University. As its largest subsidiary, UOP accounts for roughly 85% of the Apollo Group's revenues. This case study documents and creates a forum for discussion on the critical success factors via a traditional financial and strategic analysis of the OESP-based industry.

Keywords: business strategy; case study; online education service providers; OESPs; University of Phoenix; UOP; critical success factors; CSFs; virtual learning; virtual communities; online communities; web based communities; higher education; e-learning; electronic learning; financial analysis; strategic analysis.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBIS.2014.064113

International Journal of Business Information Systems, 2014 Vol.17 No.1, pp.1 - 32

Published online: 28 Aug 2014 *

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