Beyond ambidexterity: universities and their changing roles in driving regional development in challenging times

Thomas, Elisa and Pugh, Rhiannon and Soetanto, Danny and Jack, Sarah L. (2023) Beyond ambidexterity: universities and their changing roles in driving regional development in challenging times. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 48 (6). pp. 2054-2073. ISSN 0892-9912

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Around the world today, universities are expected to play a unique role as creators of regional growth and innovation. While there appears to be a consensus that the role of universities has been expanded, critiques show that the contribution of universities to their regions is still not well defined. There have been some developments in the literature on the concept of modern universities such as the triple helix, entrepreneurial university and engaged university. However, those concepts focus on enforcing universities’ roles in a single domain such as entrepreneurship, innovation, or civic engagement. Little is known about how universities can facilitate regional growth that goes beyond knowledge transfer activities such as spin-off creation, licensing, and patenting. This paper contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of universities’ role in regional growth through the theoretical lens of ambidexterity. Using ambidexterity, universities with a regional focus were distinguished from those engaged in research commercialization and traditional third-mission roles. Through two case studies, this study found that teaching, research, and engagement should not be separated, since they can serve both economic and social missions. As a result, a new model of multidextrous universities is proposed where universities meet both economic and social missions through teaching, research, and engagement. Contrary to previous contributions which presented universities as ambidextrous organizations where tension appears only between research commercialization and research publication or between teaching and research, this study suggests that universities need to overcome tensions and incorporate a sense of place in all activities to successfully contribute to regional growth.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
The Journal of Technology Transfer
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? ambidexterityentrepreneurshipinnovationmultidexterityregional developmentuniversityengineering(all)accountingbusiness and international management ??
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Deposited On:
27 Jan 2023 17:35
Last Modified:
31 Dec 2023 04:00