skip to Main Content

Interview with Authors: The Entrepreneurial University

DavidDr. David Gibson is Associate Director and The Nadya Kozmetsky Scott Centennial Fellow, IC² (Innovation, Creativity, Capital) Institute, The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Gibson’s research and publications focus on technology transfer/commercialisation; cross-cultural communication; and the growth and impact of regional technology/knowledge centres. He is a consultant to businesses, academia, and governments worldwide. Dr. Gibson is author and editor of 16 books. During 2014-2015, he was a visiting Professor II at Business and Economics, UiT – The Arctic University of Norway.



Lene Foss (PhD) is Professor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship  at School of Business and Economics, UiT – The Arctic University of Norway. Her research concentrates on gender in innovation and entrepreneurship, university entrepreneurship/academic entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial education. Foss is associate editor of Journal of Small Business management and editorial consultant and editorial board member of International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship. She has been a visiting fellow at Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, UK.


What is The Entrepreneurial University; Context and Institutional Change all about?

The Entrepreneurial University: Context and Institutional Change presents in-depth case narratives of ten universities located in five countries that have overcome significant challenges to develop programmes and activities to commercialise scientific research, launch entrepreneurial degree programmes, establish industry partnerships, and build entrepreneurial cultures. Case narratives describe challenges overcome, actions taken, and resulting accomplishments while the book’s introductory and concluding chapters provide an institutional theory and entrepreneurial architecture frameworks to analyse and provide meaningful conclusions.

Who would you like to read your book? Who is it directed at?

This volume will be of interest to policymakers and university administrators as well as researchers and students interested in how different programmes and activities can promote university entrepreneurship while contributing to economic growth in developed and developing economies.

What are the key messages in the book?

One main conclusion from all the case narratives is the importance and impact of the regional and national context in which the university is embedded in determining the speed and effectiveness of the launch, development, and sustainability of programmes and activities supporting the entrepreneurial turn.

A second major conclusion is that institutional change within universities toward the “entrepreneurial turn” was effectively initiated top-down as well as bottom-up by formal and informal leaders reacting to regulative, normative, and cognitive influences at regional and national levels of analysis.

How did you first become interested in the subject of technology entrepreneurship?

We managed an international research group funded by the Norwegian Government that included researchers from ten universities located in Norway, Finland, Sweden, UK, and the U.S. The universities are quite diverse: large and small; teaching and research focused; internationally recognised and relatively new; located in major cities and in emerging regions. The topic of the entrepreneurial university was a dominant theme in all the cases.

What do you think are the biggest trends and challenges facing the area of technology entrepreneurship and innovation?

The two main question that are addressed in the book are:

  • What actors and forces are important in motivating institutional change in the development of a university’s entrepreneurial architecture?
  • How do universities interact with their institutional context in developing entrepreneurially?
Are there any other texts you found influential when compiling your own?
  • DiMaggio, P. J., & Powell, W. W. (Eds.) (1991). The new institutionalism in organizational analysis (Vol. 17). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Nelles, J. & Vorley, T. (2010). Constructing an Entrepreneurial Architecture: An Emergent Framework for studying the Contemporary University Beyond the Entrepreneurial Turn, Innovation in Higher education 35:161-176.
  • Nelles, J. & Vorley, T. (2010b). “From policy to practice: engaging and embedding the third mission in contemporary universities”, Int’l Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 30:7/8, pp.341 – 353.
  • Ramirez, F. O. (2006). The rationalization of universities, (p. 244), in M-L. Djelic’s Transnational governance: Institutional dynamics of regulation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Vorley, T. & Nelles, J. (2008). (Re) Conceptualizing the Academy: Institutional Development of and beyond the Third Mission, in Higher Education Management and Policy, Vol. 20, No. 3 (2008).
Why should someone read your book?

Global recessions and structural economic shifts are motivating government and business leaders worldwide to increasingly look to “their” universities to stimulate regional development and to contribute to national competitiveness. The challenge is clear and the question is pressing: How will universities respond?



You can find out more about The Entrepreneurial University; Context and Institutional Change and/or purchase the book, here

Back To Top