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The strategic orientation of universities in knowledge transfer activities

Paola Giuri, Federico Munari, Alessandra Scandura and Laura Toschi

Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2019, vol. 138, issue C, 261-278

Abstract: Previous research has claimed that universities can enhance the effectiveness of knowledge transfer activities by establishing a clear strategic goal and aligning all their activities towards that direction. To shed new light on this issue, in this paper we explore the determinants of universities' strategic choices in the field of knowledge transfer (KT). We identify theoretically and empirically three university KT strategies: income-generation strategy, service-to-faculty strategy, and local development strategy. We then investigate the role of university-level factors that determine the strategic choice of universities, particularly focusing on university horizontal (generalist vs. specialist) and vertical (high vs. low prestige) diversity. The empirical analysis relies on a unique survey of 178 university TTO managers across European universities, combined with additional data sources. Our results show that generalist and low prestige universities mainly pursue the local development strategy, while specialist and high prestige ones are more oriented towards the income generation strategy. These findings are highly relevant for theory and practice of KT in academic insitutions, given the relevance that the university third mission has for economic and societal development.

Keywords: Knowledge transfer; University strategy; University specialization; University prestige (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I23 O32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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