Transitioning from an economic to a broader social impact: A case study of a Swedish university

Eloise Germain-Alamartine

Research output: Working paper

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The role of universities in regional development has been intensively debated in both research and practice. The objective of this study was to examine the possible roles of a university in the development of its region over the long term. A case study approach was adopted through the analysis of a rather young university in a provincial region of Sweden. The region is mainly agricultural but has two large cities where industrial and military activities can be found, as well as IT and R&D activities in two Science Parks and the surrounding ecosystems. A review of the literature dealing with entrepreneurial universities and regional development shows that five main models have been proposed to describe the various roles and interactions of universities with their environments: (i) the knowledge factory, (ii) the relational university, (iii) the entrepreneurial university, (iv) the systemic university, and (v) the engaged university. Interviews with key personnel of the university in relation with regional management and regional stakeholders supplement the case. It is argued that the selected case corresponds most closely to the model of a systemic university but also has characteristics of an engaged university. The current case seems to be in transition between these two models, due mainly to external desires for achieving a broader social impact. This case highlights implications for policymakers and university managers in leading a transition process from one university model to another.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameRUNIN Working Paper Series
ISSN (Electronic)2535-5686


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