The proposed study has the potential of enhancing successful higher education (HE) management and decision-making processes by increased awareness of international academic collaboration (IAC) influences, thus acting as an “aide-memoir” of issues to HE management. The purpose of this pilot study is to test the appropriateness of research questions, methodology, methods, and techniques applied. Concepts and themes emerging should form the basis for future research of the IAC phenomenon. The paper provides a critical evaluation of the research paradigmatic stance. Justification of methodology and measures of trustworthiness, such as transparency in the research process, decisions, and procedures, provided using reflective research workbook unfolding procedures and decisions in the research process. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews among participants selected on basis of their affiliation with HE different organisational levels. Theoretical framework and key concepts were identified through critical literature review. Data analysis was assisted using NVivo software. NVivo was used to code data and various cluster and pattern analysis. Initial coding and advanced coding were based on identified theoretical framework, reflective workbook memos transcripts, and node properties and transcripts of participant interviews. Concepts and themes emerging from the data analysis were further interpreted using analysis of narrative and classified into meta-categories, e.g., higher order nodes. A conceptual model of successful IAC was identified and reported in the conclusion part, reflecting back upon the research questions including an evaluation of data saturation and the limited scope of the pilot study.