Strategic management applied in Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic to organize online classes at universities where they were previously given face-to-face: a case study

  • Miriam Roxana Vázquez Zamudio Universidad Tecnológica de Manzanillo
  • Jorge Delgadillo Partida Universidad Tecnológica de Manzanillo
  • Heriberto Pérez Romero Universidad Tecnológica de Manzanillo
  • Rodrigo Israel Cancino Uribe Universidad Tecnológica de Manzanillo


With the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus in Asia towards the end of 2019 and its spread to the rest of the world in the first quarter of 2020, the World Health Organization determined it was a pandemic and urged all countries to take isolation and social-confinement measures.
Because of these COVID-19 measures, universities were forced to suspend all face-to-face activity and find a way to overcome the educational disruption. The vast majority opted for distance education through the use of virtual platforms.
Faced with this new challenge for the educational system, higher-level educational institutions in developing countries obviously had to accept this new paradigm and somehow continue teaching, but new and unexpected technological obstacles arose that were to hinder their mission.
In Mexico, some large public and private universities such as Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM) or Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) had already been employing digital platforms and this facilitated the transition en masse from face-to-face classes to virtual ones and the migration of their study plans to the online system. Universities in general had to provide a timely response to the contingency or else confront the worse challenge of a short- or medium-term interruption of their syllabuses.
This research examines the technological, academic and administrative strategies applied when designing and building an online teaching platform, taking into account the technological factors and their associated variables. The study also considered the emotional effect of these decisions, their repercussions on the students’ academic performance and the labor aspects and stress imposed on the teaching staff.
Our research took pains to analyze the specific case of Universidad Tecnológica de Manzanillo (UTeM), through a descriptive cross-sectional study. The results led us to conclude that the decisions taken by the University’s senior management had a direct impact on the new way of operating the administrative and distance-teaching functions. The study further highlights the fact that almost 40% of the students failed to positively assimilate the transition to the online modality and, moreover, that 3 out of 5 students did not actually have their own computer at the time to follow the classes from their homes.
Therefore, one may assert that UTeM senior management’s decision-making, when faced with the dire reality of the pandemic, was designed and implemented - over the short term - as a knee-jerk response to an admittedly complex situation. It is imperative, however, when taking such transcendental decisions, that the conditions and scenarios and their technical analysis, testing and trials be first completed, so as to guarantee the correct assimilation of the guidelines subsequently provided and that these in turn permeate the work of the university community.
Keywords Covid-19, Educational Strategy, Higher Education, Online mode, UTeM
How to Cite
Vázquez Zamudio, M., Delgadillo Partida, J., Pérez Romero, H., & Cancino Uribe, R. (2021). Strategic management applied in Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic to organize online classes at universities where they were previously given face-to-face: a case study. Estudios de Administración, 28(1), 182-200. doi:10.5354/0719-0816.2021.58234
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