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The importance of pro-social behaviour for the breadth and depth of knowledge transfer activities: An analysis of Italian academic scientists

Roberto Iorio, Sandrine Labory and Francesco Rentocchini

Research Policy, 2017, vol. 46, issue 2, 497-509

Abstract: The debate on the entrepreneurial university has raised questions about what motivates academics to engage with the external environment and what forms knowledge transfer (KT) activities should take. This paper distinguishes between the variety of forms of engagement (KT breadth) and the intensity of collaboration (KT depth) in the analysis of their motivations. The paper relies on a sample of Italian academics from different scientific fields over the period 2004–2008. Whereas previous literature has shown that academics are essentially motivated by learning opportunities, fundraising and satisfaction derived from puzzle solving in research activities, our paper provides evidence of the positive role of an additional motivation for both the breadth and depth of KT: the extent to which the academic scientist advances the societal role of universities (“mission” motivation). We find that both “funding” and “mission” motivations have a positive effect on the variety and intensity of KT activities, with little effect for learning opportunities. Our results show also a higher effect of “funding” and “mission” on the depth of KT activities compared to their breadth.

Keywords: Motivation; Knowledge transfer; Third mission; University external engagement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Research Policy is currently edited by M. Bell, B. Martin, W.E. Steinmueller, A. Arora, M. Callon, M. Kenney, S. Kuhlmann, Keun Lee and F. Murray

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