Driving Factors for Converting Teaching-Oriented Universities Into Entrepreneurial Universities: A Turkish Case Study

Driving Factors for Converting Teaching-Oriented Universities Into Entrepreneurial Universities: A Turkish Case Study

Serdal Temel (Ege University, Bornova, Turkey) and Susanne Durst (University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/IJABE.2018070102

Abstract

In order to accelerate economic growth, many countries have developed and implemented different programs and mechanisms. Benefiting universities' knowledge production and human capacity are one of those mechanisms and therefore entrepreneurial universities, in particular, are considered as a strategic factor in order to realize this target. While in many advanced economies, mainly in Europe and United States, entrepreneurial universities have been established over the years, but this has not been realized in emerging economies. Against this background and the activities found in Turkey, this article sheds light on the current state of Turkish universities regarding their development into entrepreneurial universities. Main findings show that existence of IP policy and TTO is driving factors for entrepreneurial universities. In addition, IP awareness activities in the campus, novelty search and using patent during academic promotion motivates universities to become more entrepreneurial.
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Introduction

Innovation has been defined as one of the main engines of competition for companies and for this reason countries implement different approaches to enhance their innovation skills. One of them is developing external linkages and by taking advantage of opportunities the companies developed from information outside their own firm boundaries. External partners that provide firms with new information could include organizations such as universities, public sector organizations, competitors, suppliers and customers in their own or in related industries.

Specifically, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are should benefit from these external organizations (Egbu, Hari, & Renukappa, 2005) because of their natural limitations. The impacts of regional and national innovation strategy and also collaborations between universities and SMEs are currently the major concerns of technology and innovation policies in many emerging economies. The underlying assumption is that a greater focus on university collaboration will contribute to the knowledge assets of SMEs, which will, in turn, make them more competitive in a global economy.

Universities are one of the important sources of information and knowledge to develop better and more competitive products in emerging industries (Feldman & Kelley, 2006). Innovation in this context refers to the creation and successful introduction of new products and processes in the market place. As such, university-industry link has emerged as a key component of the national innovation system. However, universities no longer confine themselves to their traditional roles in teaching and research but are increasingly engaging in entrepreneurial and business activities known as ‘third stream activities’. This phenomenon is attributed to the pressure exerted on the universities to commercialize their research findings to generate revenue to cover some of the operating costs including research costs. The success of many academics as entrepreneurs in various technology fields has also contributed to this trend. The direct involvement of universities with industry can be seen in activities such as research funding, training partnerships, and technical services contracts. Apart from these, the industry also sponsors research centers and researchers and offers sponsorship or endowment of chairs (Laursen & Salter, 2003; Siegel, Westhead, & Wright, 2003).

Over the last 25 years, universities have been acknowledged as one of the main sources of competitiveness; but, some of the research has suggested that only advanced economies benefited from the universities for innovation (Mian, 2003). Therefore, the universities in emerging economies should learn from the practices of universities in advanced countries such as the Europe and USA. It is obvious that this is a big challenge for universities as regards funding, quality, and relevance (Mian, 2006), especially in emerging economies.

Advanced countries have already created different methodologies to maximize their benefit from including technical and human resources of universities as much as possible. Techno Parks, incubation centers, contracted research with industrial partners and Technology Transfer and Licensing Offices are some of those instruments that have been implemented to achieve and to develop value-added services and products. The expected outcomes are to accelerate the growth of economies including. However, despite the numbers of highly-skilled people, laboratories, company needs, and demands, dynamic and enthusiastic students many projects to develop technology have not been successfully brought in the market because of the limitations both in the national innovation ecosystem and academic entrepreneurship (Schramm, 2004).

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