The United Kingdom Higher Education sector is undergoing a prolonged period of turbulence in its external environments. This is causing universities to seek to develop entrepreneurial activities to support the diversification of their traditional income streams, whilst also widening their societal and economic contribution at the Government’s request. The researcher has worked within this field for twenty years and has witnessed perceived tensions and barriers that have emerged as university organizational cultures have been required to adapt to meet these new challenges. The purpose of this research is to explore perceptions of entrepreneurship and organizational culture within this context.
The research has been undertaken using a social constructionist ontology and interpretivist epistemology, utilizing two complementary qualitative research methods to draw out an understanding of the key issues perceived by twelve participants within a single study organization. Thematic analysis has been utilized to explore the research data drawn from the semi-structured interviews and participant diagrams.
The research has identified five key themes that are perceived by participants to be antecedents for entrepreneurship: time; resources; support; leadership & management; and a supportive culture. Analysis has further suggested that some antecedents to entrepreneurship are themselves precursors for others, with a matrix developed herein to outline these interactions. Participants have highlighted that all of the perceived antecedents to entrepreneurship may be considered to be elements of organizational culture, with a belief expressed that these may be amended over time to become more supportive of entrepreneurship. It has further been reported that a university has many, not a single, organizational culture with local cultures being perceived to be generally more supportive than those associated with larger organizational units. In light of this research and its findings, contributions are made to knowledge and practice, with specific recommendations also made to the study organization around these issues.
Logie, S. J. Exploring entrepreneurship and organizational culture in a higher education context. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/id/eprint/8848