22 SES 04 D, Imaginations and Identities in and of Higher Education
Ranga and Etkowitz (2013) explain that universities have provided not only teaching and research services but also they have been taking a prominent role to create and disseminate knowledge within the society.
Etzkowitz et al. (2007) state that strong industry-university-government collaboration in countries with advanced economies assisted in enhancing the effectiveness of the country’s national innovation system leading to innovative growth. According to Etkowitz and Ranga (2010), one of the innovation models effectively utilised in order to build strong collaborative networks between state, business sector and university leading to innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth was the Triple Helix model (the term THM will refer to the Triple Helix Model) . As Etzkowitz (2008) articulates that the basic idea of this model is that in the THM, the main three components of the economy - industry, government and university work closely as a team assisting to each other in order to provide innovation and economic growth.
This study aims to define what feasibilities of applying Triple Helix Model and how this model will be applied to the Business University in Kazakhstan through researchers, teachers and managers’ perspectives. The data extracted from three teachers, three managers and three researchers who work and teach at the Business University at the current time. These nine participants were questioned to identify their opinions and experiences regarding to realisation of the Triple Helix model (THM) to the context of the Business University. Consequently, the study attempted to comprehend how and through what strategies the THM will be implemented in the context of the Business University.
There is no empirical study examining the universities role in realisation of the THM in Kazakhstan, so outcome of this study might be used by other researchers to further investigate feasibilities of utilisation of the THM to other universities in Kazakhstan. Furthermore, the results of this study could have some effects on the innovation policy of Kazakhstan which has not been designed completely yet. Especially as there is no policy focused on improvement of university, industry and government partnerships. Having considered the main aim and objectives of this study, this research asks a number of research questions:
- What are the feasibilities of applying the Triple Helix Model to the Business University?
- How will the Triple Helix Model be applied within this university policy?
- What are the main constraining factors in applying the Triple Helix Model to this university?
The data revealed that the focus Business University has an effective infrastructure, a business model and highly skilled teachers, researchers and management team who make the THM likely to be feasible to the system of the Business University. Moreover, it can be seen from the collected data that the university has designed an Entrepreneurial Concept which might positively influence the realisation of strategies of the TH innovation model to this university. It was revealed from this study that the university has begun to initiate the first phase of the THM with the business sector and the state. However, the participants emphasised that the constraining factors which negatively impact upon the realisation of the TH of state-industry-university relationships. The empirical evidences from this study suggests that in order to realise fully functioning the THM to the Business University, the university needs to create utilisation mechanisms of the THM cooperation with the industry and government. In addition to this, university, industry and government need to unite and take a systematic approach to eliminate the existing constraining factor in order to enhance conditions for successful application of the THM.
The case study research approach was selected as a primary data extracting methodology to carry out this qualitative study. Initially, this research intended to use document analysis and semi-structured interviews in order to extract data. However, implementation of document analysis was not possible since all the strategic plans and programs related to utilisation of the THM into the system of the Business University were not open to public due to the high confidentiality of these strategic documents. Therefore, to investigate this particular case, current research employed the semi-structured interviewing as the main data collecting method. Merriam (2002) indicated the limitation of the single-source study by explaining that data elicited with the help of one tool might be less accurate so that bias might arise decreasing the validity of findings. To alleviate this challenge and enhance validity of the retrieved data, the informative evidence was collected from three different groups namely teachers, researchers and managers. Thus, gathered data gave an opportunity to the investigator to see the data from three different perspectives and compare them constantly to guarantee validity of results. Due to the geographical distance setting, face-to-face interviewing was not possible. Consequently, Skype interviewing methods were effectively applied to interview the participants in order to extract data from them. According Ryobe (2008), when web cameras are used, Skype interviewing can be equivalent or close to the face-to-face conversation since it can make the environment more interactive. Furthermore, all the video interviews can be recorded by other digital devices to preserve the authenticity of the recorded data. However, when conducting the Skype interviews there may be technical problem negatively impacting on recording of the interview process. As result of this, a researcher might miss valuable information so that validity of the data would be low. To avoid this problem, prior carrying the actual interviews, the probing interviews were conducted several times with other students to ensure the quality of the Skype interview. The research participants were interviewed in Kazakh language through the Skype. The duration of each interview was approximately 40-45 minutes. After the interviewees’ approval, the researcher tape recorded all the conversations, the audio evidence used to transcribe the content of the interviews. Furthermore, during the interviews, the investigator took notes that allowed the addition of extra information while transcribing the interview content and analysis of the raw data.
By analysing and evaluating the world best results from developed countries, Kazakhstan has set an ambitious plan to utilise a western based the THM to create collaborative networks between industry, university and government in order foster innovation which supports working towards knowledge based development. To achieve this goal, the universities of Kazakhstan need to take a leading role in building these collaborative networks as knowledge creators and disseminators. By analysing and evaluating the viewpoints and experiences of the teachers, researchers and managers who have the key positions in realisation of the THM to the Business University, the study found important information. According to the research results the Business University has good premises prior utilising the THM. To be more specific, the university has an effective scientific infrastructure and the highly qualified teachers, researchers, managers and competitive students assisting to implement this goal. Moreover, the study results revealed that the university designed the Entrepreneurship Concept which will be used as a guidance depicting the utilisation process of the THM into the Business University. Furthermore, it is evident that the university collaboration with industry and government established the initial platform where they can discuss and create application mechanisms of the THM in Kazakhstan. It seems that the Business University is moving to a right direction in utilisation of the THM in order to have strong relationships with industry and government. Although, the university has started taking an initial step to complete the THM with the local companies and government, the study explored the constraining factors which have negative impacts on successful implementation of the THM to the Business University system. Specifically, the participants of this study indicated that Kazakhstan requires a new innovation policy articulating the function of the state, industry and university in implementing the THM leading to innovative development.
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