Understanding Entrepreneurial University: A Framework for Emerging Economies

Understanding Entrepreneurial University: A Framework for Emerging Economies

Neeta Baporikar (Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia & University of Pune, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0174-0.ch005


Universities globally are facing new challenges and rapid changes like the increased pace of technological progress, demographic shifts, reduced funding, new skills requirement, competition, etc. These challenges and changes call for academic revolution in universities. This implies a need to make these organizations more entrepreneurial in their thinking and approaches, hence the term entrepreneurial universities. Further, they are expected to create the future by educating those to whom the future belongs and by generating the ideas and discoveries that can transform the present and build a better world. In the current context, educating those to whom the future belongs means providing them with solid knowledge and entrepreneurial skills for coping with future challenges, generating ideas and innovations and transferring them to build a better world. Adopting a qualitative approach with an in-depth literature review, the aim is to understand the entrepreneurial university and its role, and to provide a framework for their development in emerging economies.
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Most universities are operating in the public sector and traditionally they are not suited for an entrepreneurial role (Kirby, 2006). However, over the past two decades, world over, universities are facing new challenges and rapid changes like increased pace of technological progress, negative demographic shifts, decreasing public funding, new skills required in the marketplace, fierce competition for attracting students and research funds. Thus, universities as organisation, which were dominating and stable for more than 2500 years, are on verge of collapse (Abeles, 2001). Reasons are many. Among them, the most important could be inability to adjust to the development of technology, especially the convergence of ICT, which had led to the creation of alternative forms for knowledge acquisition, learning and higher education. Even the dominating role they enjoyed as a source of enlightening the society is turning to now just a place for knowledge communication (Delanty, 2001). These changes and challenges ask for a new academic revolution in order for universities to survive and develop, and this implies making these organizations more entrepreneurial. Whitehead the philosopher said, “Universities create the future”; and Faust, Harvard University president explained how they do “in two fundamental ways”: by educating those to whom the future belongs, and by generating the ideas and discoveries that can transform the present and build a better world” (as cited in Thorp and Goldstein, 2010; p. 151). In the current context, educating those to whom the future belongs means providing them with solid knowledge and entrepreneurial skills for coping with the future challenges and generation of ideas and innovations and transfer to build a better world. This again requires an entrepreneurial approach. Thus, for university to remain relevant and useful as a form of organization need to respond and adapt. This requires change in the mindset and change in the tenets of managing and governing the universities. This calls for restructuring of universities. Therefore, the question for higher education and university system is not whether but how to cope with these changes, which characterize the modern and emerging economies of today (Baporikar, 2019). Therefore, adopting a qualitative approach with in depth literature review the main objective of this chapter is to discuss the concept, key characteristics of entrepreneurial university and provide a framework for entrepreneurial university, in emerging economies with focus on Namibia. The primary purpose being extension of our cumulative understanding of entrepreneurial opportunities as an enduring phenomenon of interest. Given the importance of the opportunity construct in the field of entrepreneurship as well as the current difficulties associated with respect to its adequate understanding, we believe that knowledge about the phenomenon stands to gain substantially if researchers import appropriate frameworks, perspectives, and theoretical paradigms from allied fields to suitably inform and enhance their overall understanding of the phenomenon.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Innovation: Is the process of translating ideas into useful – and used – new products, processes and services.

Emerging Economy: Is a rapidly growing and volatile economy with low to middle per capita income.

University Role: The position and purpose that a university possesses. The role of the university may be for example, communication of ideas. It is considerable that universities have a key role to play in augmenting entrepreneurship since educational institutions are the place in shaping entrepreneurial aspirations among students.

Regional Development: Seeks to understand better the issues and problems facing the regions because of the contemporary economic and social changes, including the formulation of territorial policies accordingly.

Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Refer to the components – individuals, enterprises, institutions, resource and information availability, culture or legal mechanisms – outside the entrepreneur that are conducive to, or inhibitive of, the choice of an individual to become an entrepreneur, or the probabilities of his or her success following start.

Private University: A private university is one where the ownership and operations rests with the private sector. The private simply “means” that the university’s funding comes from tuition and investments.

University-Industry Collaboration: It refers to any type of cooperation between universities (i.e. their researchers) and companies in order to jointly either develop new goods/services or improve existing goods/services.

Knowledge Transfer: Is the means by which transfer of scientific and technological knowledge and expertise from a knowledge-based organization to those in need of that asset takes place.

Entrepreneurial Universities: Are those higher education institutions that clearly define strategies and tools to promote entrepreneurship and innovation, constantly adjusting to learning and knowledge transfer opportunities at regional, national and international levels.

Knowledge Production: Refers to the cluster of related activities in a higher education institution, a research centre or an enterprise that has to do with producing new knowledge.

Social Capital: Refers to the community value of the social networks and the patterns of reciprocity that come up from these networks to do things for each other that can leverage initiatives or projects.

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