23 SES 11 D, Universities and Strategic Management
Parallel Paper Session
Throughout history, the structural features and objectives of universities have been changing. From the establishment of the first universities in medieval Europe to the early nineteenth century, universities were seen as ‘temples of wisdom’ where specialists safeguarded the transmission and production of knowledge (Martin, 2000). From the early nineteenth century, German universities began to focus more on research and in the mid-twentieth century, Wilhelm von Humboldt’s vision of the university as an institution where research was linked to teaching for the benefit of society, was adopted by many OECD countries (Geuna, 1996). This resulted in public acknowledgement of the value of universities in the knowledge economy. Universities became increasingly differentiated to respond to market demands for teaching and research (Scott, 1998) and became more attractive for business investment (Martin, 2000). The result was a new university model with a "third mission" understood as the set of university activities related to the generation of knowledge and skills in collaborations with non-academic organizations, and the application and exploitation of university knowledge and capabilities outside the academic environment (Molas-Gallart, Salter, Patel, Scott & Duran, 2002).
Against this context, we analyze how Spanish public universities have introduced new missions to meet new socioeconomic demands. Empirical observation of the mechanisms that influence universities’ behavior is complex. In this paper we review universities’ strategic plans which encompass the explicit institutional visions and missions of academic managers to provide some understanding of how university results can be influenced by symbolic elements – values and missions. The strategic plan can be considered the main mechanism influencing the organization of higher education. Strategic plans reflect how the university community reacts to environmental pressures, and legitimize its values and missions in order to attract support from government and other organizations in the form of resources, especially funding. Analysis of university strategies reveals whether or not all Spanish public universities plan their main missions of teaching, research and knowledge transfer in the same way.
Colyvas, J. A., & Powell, W. W. (2006). Roads to institutionalization: the remaking of boundaries between public and private science. Research in Organizational Behavior, 27, 305-353. Geuna, A. (1996). European universities: an interpretative history. Research memoranda, 8, MERIT, Maastricht. Retrieved February 15, 2010, from http://edocs.ub.unimaas.nl/loader/file.asp?id=56 Göransson, B., Maharajh, R., & Schmoch, U. (2009). New activities of universities in transfer and extension: multiple requirements and manifold Solutions. Science and Public Policy, 36(2), 157-164. Krippendorff, K. (2004). Content analysis. An introduction to its methodology. California: Sage Publications, Inc. Martín, C. J. (2000). La misión de la universidad en el S.XXI: ¿Torre de marfil, parque de diversión, oficina comercial o pensar lo impensable? Estudios del Hombre, 12, 43-59. Molas-Gallart, J., Salter, A., Patel, P., Scott, A., & Duran, X. (2002). Measuring Third Stream Activities. Final Report to the Russell Group of Universities. Brighton: Science and Technology Policy Research (SPRU), University of Sussex. Freeman Centre, Falmer, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 9QE, United Kingdom. Scott, P. (1998). Out of the ivory tower. New Statesman, 127(4411), 13-14.
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