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From ‘ivory tower traditionalists’ to ‘entrepreneurial scientists’? academic scientists in fuzzy university-industry boundaries

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  • Lam, Alice

Abstract

Growing intensity of university-industry ties has generated an intense debate about the changing norms and practices of academic scientific work. This study challenges the protagonists’ views on the emergence of a dominant market ethos in academic science and growing influence of the ‘new school’ entrepreneurial scientists. It argues that academic scientists are active agents seeking to shape the relationships between science and business, and shows continued diversity in their work orientations. Drawing on neo-institutional theory and the notion of ‘boundary work’, the study examines how scientists seek to protect and negotiate their positions, and also make sense of their professional role identities. It identifies four different orientations, the ‘traditional’ and ‘entrepreneurial’, with two hybrid types in between. The hybrids are the dominant category and are particularly adept at exploiting the ambiguities of ‘boundary work’ between academia and industry. The study is based on 36 interviews and a survey sample of 734 academic scientists from five UK research universities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 30857.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
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Publication status: Published in Social Studies of Science 40.2(2010): pp. 307-340
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:30857

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Keywords: academic scientists; actor agency; boundary work; entrepreneurial university; sociological ambivalence; university-industry links;

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  1. D'Este, P. & Patel, P., 2007. "University-industry linkages in the UK: What are the factors underlying the variety of interactions with industry?," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1295-1313, November.
  2. Welsh, Rick & Glenna, Leland & Lacy, William & Biscotti, Dina, 2008. "Close enough but not too far: Assessing the effects of university-industry research relationships and the rise of academic capitalism," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1854-1864, December.
  3. Claire Waterton, 2005. "Scientists' conceptions of the boundaries between their own research and policy," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(6), pages 435-444, December.
  4. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Maximo Torero, 2002. "Labor Mobility from Academe to Commerce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 629-660, July.
  5. Donald S. Siegel & Mike Wright & Andy Lockett, 2007. "The rise of entrepreneurial activity at universities: organizational and societal implications," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 489-504, August.
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