Research & Projects

Strategic Management and Entrepreneurial University Archetypes

The dissertation project of Johann Bronstein aims at contributing to a better understanding of the societal and managerial issues associated with the transition of traditional higher education institutions towards entrepreneurial universities. Especially in the German context, very little empirical research has been conducted on the specific institutional conditions, change processes, and practices of entrepreneurial universities. Specifically the question of how a traditional public university becomes an emergent entrepreneurial one and how to strategically manage these challenges has not yet been investigated empirically. The project comprises three interrelated empirical studies:

Entrepreneurial university archetypes
Most research on entrepreneurial universities is based on case studies. While this helps us to understand specific strategies, structures and practices of particular cases within its natural context, integrative studies that build on this previous knowledge have yet to be conducted. The underlying assumption of our research is that there is no single model or best type of entrepreneurial university. Notwithstanding, we expect to see entrepreneurial universities converge into a few distinct archetypes that display similar organizational attributes.
The main purpose of the study is to synthesize existing research and to describe distinct entrepreneurial universities archetypes by conducting a qualitative meta-analysis of existing cases. Through a qualitative analysis of selected case studies, we aim to identify relevant organizational characteristics of entrepreneurial universities and to generate a comprehensive arrangement of numerous organizational attributes, which derive in distinctive organizational archetypes.
The contribution of entrepreneurial university archetypes to the academic literature sheds light to a more comprehensible understanding of elements, structures and strategies that shape emergent higher education institutions.

Strategic initiatives towards the entrepreneurial transformation of universities
As higher education institutions struggle with the challenges of adapting to changing conditions in its organization field, it becomes essential to “open the black-box” and to look at unique and special cases that allow us to study how strategic decision making conceives and shapes the emergence of entrepreneurial universities.

This research project intends to study the transformation of Leuphana University of Lüneburg into an emerging entrepreneurial university. This case presents a distinctive example of how a traditional mid-size university in the German state of Low Saxony was able to strategically reinvent itself as an entrepreneurial university. The empirical case gives us the opportunity to study the main events leading to the conception and restructuring of a different type of university. The uniqueness of this organizational change will provide valuable empirical insights of the emergent process of entrepreneurial universities.

The innovative approach of the Leuphana concept constitutes an entrepreneurial institutional undertaking unique in Germany. The process of merging and renewal of Leuphana was focused at creating a new type of German higher education organization. Several expert interviews are conducted to address the strategies, processes and structures, which contributed to the merger of two regional higher education institutions and the emergence of Leuphana as an entrepreneurial university. The case study focuses on the strategic initiatives that built on the strengths of predecessors, maintaining and developing an action-oriented teaching and research structure in close cooperation with industry and regional economic agents, playing in this way a more active role in the regional economy.

Outcomes from the case study should contribute to the knowledge in the field of study and serve institutional stakeholders to better understand the conception and transformation process of entrepreneurial universities. Furthermore, the case study should allow the development of empirically based heuristic models and best practices, aiming to fulfil the needs of stakeholders and practitioners in the field. 

Fostering University-Industry cooperation and knowledge-based regional development
In today’s global economy, knowledge is widely recognized as an essential element for the competitiveness of countries, regions and companies. A growing important contributor of economic expansion, and more specifically of regional development, has come to be the knowledge and research developed within or in conjunction with universities. Etzkowitz (2008) outlines that a knowledge-based region “is a consciously constructed entity undertaken by a variety of actors, typically including a triple helix of government, industry and university”.

In 2010, the Leuphana University of Lüneburg established an Innovation Incubator with the purpose of supporting regional economy-linked research and transfer projects assists local business and start-ups and promote cooperation among university, regional institutions and industry. This presents us with a suitable case for studying the interactions between university and industry and the role played by Leuphana University of Lüneburg in the transfer of knowledge and innovation to existing and new local enterprises. 

This research project will serve as basis to identify structure and qualify the formal and informal knowledge transfer channels and initiatives between university and industry. We aim to understand how university-industry cooperation was before the Leuphana model was adopted and how these have evolved into today's structures. In this regard I we will conduct several interviews with industry cooperation partners and knowledge transfer personnel from the university. Additionally we will analyse the support structures through internal documents.

Suggestions deriving from this study could serve to better understand university-industry interactions and knowledge transfer structures. Moreover this case analysis will contribute to better understanding of formal and informal knowledge transfer structures and how these promote innovation and knowledge-based regional development.