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.