Running a ‘Business: The Role of the ‘Institutional Elite’ in Building ‘Business-Facing’ Universities
Set against a backdrop of complexity and uncertainty this paper explores the responses of a group of UK higher education institutions (HEIs) to government policies, which were designed to encourage greater university-business collaboration. In examining the reactions of individual institutions, the authors noted not only a differentiated approach to the national policy but also the significant influence of the ‘institutional elite,’ (IE) in driving the business-facing agenda forward in their universities. Although a plethora of literature has emerged on the importance of ‘anchor institutions’ to local communities and as strategic contributors to local economies (Asheim, 2011), and of the appropriateness of entrepreneurial universities to fill this regional lacuna, little focused research has examined the effectiveness with which national policy has been translated into practice and commercial success at a regional level (Scott, 2014). This paper provides empirical research, which evidences the need for better-informed policy making in this area (Scott, 2014; Culkin, 2016).