Beyond the Obvious: Tensions and Volitions Surrounding the Contributions of Universities to Regional Development and Innovation1

Rómulo Pinheiro, Paul Stephen Benneworth, Glen A. Jones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
112 Downloads (Pure)


There is a general tendency amongst policy and certain academic circles to assume that universities are simple strategic actors capable and willing to respond to a well-articulated set of regional demands. In reality, however, universities are extremely complex organizations that operate in highly institutionalized environments and are susceptible to regulative shifts, resource dependencies, and fluctuations in student numbers. Understanding universities' contributions—and capacities to contribute—to regional development and innovation requires understanding these internal dynamics and how they interact with external environmental agents. Based on a comparative study across various national settings and regional contexts, the chapter highlights the types of tensions and volitions that universities face while attempting to fulfil their “third mission.” Building upon the existing literature and novel empirical insights, the chapter advances a new conceptual model for opening the “black box” of the university-region interface and disentangling the impacts of purposive, political efforts to change universities' internal fabrics and to institutionalize the regional mission.
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Global Competitive Advantage through Innovation and Entrepreneurship
EditorsLuis M. Carmo Farinha, Joao J.M. Ferreira, Helen Lawton Smith, Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen
PublisherIGI Global
ISBN (Print)9781466683488
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

PublisherIGI Global


  • METIS-310932
  • IR-96327

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