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(Re)conceptualising the academy: Institutional development of and beyond the third mission


  • Tim Vorley
  • Jen Nelles


Framed in terms of the Third Mission, the “enterprise” or “entrepreneurial” university has increasingly become normalised in public policy; however there remains much contention about the implication of third stream activities. There is little rigorous evidence as to whether the Third Mission adversely affects teaching and/or (basic) research. Martin and Etzkowitz (2000) note there is some anecdotal evidence that the Third Mission has had a positive impact. Indeed, it is to this debate that this paper seeks to contribute. It considers how the Third Mission can positively reinforce teaching and research activities and how this is arguably more significant than the Third Mission itself. Indeed, it proposes that triangulating teaching, research and third stream activities should reinforce the respective dynamics of each through their recursive and reciprocal development. Conceptualising institutional engagement with the third stream holistically in terms of entrepreneurial architectures may enable universities to stimulate institutional development beyond the Third Mission. The paper concludes by reflecting upon and looking towards the future of higher education policy and the management of higher education institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Tim Vorley & Jen Nelles, 2008. "(Re)conceptualising the academy: Institutional development of and beyond the third mission," Higher Education Management and Policy, OECD Publishing, vol. 20(3), pages 1-17.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:edukaa:5kzdcsdmjcvb
    DOI: 10.1787/hemp-v20-art25-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Richa Kumari & Ki-Seok Kwon & Byeong-Hee Lee & Kiseok Choi, 2019. "Co-Creation for Social Innovation in the Ecosystem Context: The Role of Higher Educational Institutions," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(1), pages 1-21, December.
    2. Nicolò, Giuseppe & Raimo, Nicola & Polcini, Paolo Tartaglia & Vitolla, Filippo, 2021. "Unveiling the link between performance and Intellectual Capital disclosure in the context of Italian Public universities," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 88(C).
    3. Faham, Elham & Rezvanfar, Ahmad & Movahed Mohammadi, Seyed Hamid & Rajabi Nohooji, Meisam, 2017. "Using system dynamics to develop education for sustainable development in higher education with the emphasis on the sustainability competencies of students," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 307-326.
    4. Frenken, Koen & Heimeriks, Gaston J. & Hoekman, Jarno, 2017. "What drives university research performance? An analysis using the CWTS Leiden Ranking data," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 859-872.
    5. Berbegal-Mirabent, Jasmina & Lafuente, Esteban & Solé, Francesc, 2013. "The pursuit of knowledge transfer activities: An efficiency analysis of Spanish universities," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(10), pages 2051-2059.
    6. John Butler & David Gibson, 2013. "Research Universities in the Framework of Regional Innovation Ecosystem: The Case of Austin, Texas," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 7(2), pages 42-57.
    7. Magdalena Kubów, 2012. "The use of metaphors in teaching entrepreneurship (Wykorzystanie metafor w nauczaniu przedsiebiorczosci)," Problemy Zarzadzania, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 10(36), pages 99-115.
    8. Compagnucci, Lorenzo & Spigarelli, Francesca, 2020. "The Third Mission of the university: A systematic literature review on potentials and constraints," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 161(C).

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