As a response to processes of globalisation and regional integration, internationalisation activities in universities have changed. Flows have become more massive, the range of activities has broadened, and internationalisation has shifted from a marginal activity to a central institutional issue with strategic importance (van der Wende 2001, European Journal of Education 36(4), 431-441). These shifts can also be observed in international cooperation among universities. One of the manifestations of this shift is the increase and change of inter-organisational arrangements in higher education. One type of such arrangements - higher education consortia - are analysed in detail in the study. This analysis takes inter-organisational diversity as a starting point (Parkhe 1991, Journal of International Business Studies 22(4), 579-601). The basic thesis is that partners need to be similar, yet different, or in other words, there needs to be sufficient complementarity as well as sufficient compatibility among the participating universities. The article also explores the ways in which the management of consortia can improve the levels of complementarity and compatibility and thus the success of such consortia. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.