Universities as Hybrid Organizations: Trends, Drivers, and Challenges for the European University

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Today’s public universities are increasingly becoming like enterprising nonprofits. Partly because of financial reasons, they are turning to the private sector to boost or replace their traditional—predominantly public—sources of funding. University-industry alliances in research and development (R&D) are the result of deliberate strategies implemented by national and international (e.g., EU) governing bodies, as well as the university leadership itself, to promote a more direct involvement of universities in research-based innovation and economic development. This multiplication of stakeholders is leading to new organizational—more hybrid—models of governance that help the university cope with the increased complexity of networks and linkages with which it is involved. This article addresses some of the drivers and manifestations of universities as hybrid organizations, as well as examples of (public-private partnership) models of knowledge linkages between university and industry, such as the ones currently promoted across Europe. The article concludes by highlighting some of the challenges of the increased hybridization of universities, including challenges for research on university governance
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-225
JournalInternational studies of management and organization
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • IR-96412
  • METIS-310952


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