The entrepreneurial university: Examining the underlying academic tensions Academic Article uri icon


  • With increasing pressure on universities to play a role in the national innovation process, this exploratory case study investigates how the concept of the entrepreneurial university (Etzkowitz et al., 2000) is manifesting itself within the context of a comprehensive European university setting. Semi-structured interviews with key professors spanning the diverse disciplines of the university were conducted to uncover attitudes towards the entrepreneurial third mission and the underlying complexities of developing a unified entrepreneurial character within the institution. The case study identifies the emergence of an increasing schizophrenic divide between disciplines within the university. This attitudinal split has the potential to cause widespread disharmony amongst the academic community and impede progress towards achievement of the third mission. The case findings reveal that a strong top-down push towards the ideal of the entrepreneurial university would actually reduce overall entrepreneurial activity across the university. This case study finds support for Burgelmans (1983) understanding of the entrepreneurial process, and identifies a number of key barriers to realising the entrepreneurial ideal. Ultimately, the case study calls into question the assertion of Etzkowitz et al. (2000) that the concept of the entrepreneurial university is a global phenomenon with an isomorphic development path. 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

published proceedings

  • Technovation

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Philpott, K., Dooley, L., O'Reilly, C., & Lupton, G.

citation count

  • 293

complete list of authors

  • Philpott, Kevin||Dooley, Lawrence||O'Reilly, Caroline||Lupton, Gary

publication date

  • January 2011