While universities today acknowledge that they have a specific competence but also responsibility to make economic and social impact, the universities’ management has not yet fully adapted to support this impact making. Universities are traditionally oriented towards students and the academic community, two stakeholder groups that do not necessarily demand a highly dynamic management. Working with business, however, requires academic institutions to act more entrepreneurially, see opportunities and go for them, as opposed to primarily securing the status quo.

Even when academic institutions realise that their management needs to change in order to better engage with business, many struggle with adapting their management style as they do not have the time and/or competence to foster change. In other words, most institutions have a strategic pillar (focused on steering) for the third mission, represented by the university management. The university management is responsible for strategic planning and decision making. On the other hand, nearly all institutions today have an operative pillar (focus on acting), represented by a technology transfer office, corporate relationship office or similar. These offices are responsible for transferring knowledge and technologies out of the university and to engage with business on a regular basis.

17Hardly any institution, however, has a third pillar – one responsible for the analytical-scientific investigation of entrepreneurial activity/UBC. In other words, this pillar is responsible for analysing the current situation and developing ways as to how an institution can improve. This might include the implementation of market research, but also the identification of good practices around the world which could be adapted and implemented in the university.

The following figure highlights how Münster University of Applied Sciences addresses the change management challenge. The university views their third mission activities from three perspectives, a strategic one (represented by the university’s management), an operational one (represented by the university’s transfer agency) and an analytical-scientific one (represented by the Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre).

132Due to this often missing analytical-scientific pillar, many universities are sometimes not that well aware of their external environment, do not recognize the latest changes and are not as forward moving as they could be. As explained in the previous section on “understanding academics”, it has also to be understood that this change to a more open and collaborative culture in academic institutions will need time. Businesses need to be aware of the fact that given that this shift is recent, university management needs to manage this change over a certain time period in order to get all academics and further employees supporting this change, rather than infiltrating this change process.

 

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