Moving Beyond Isomorphically Driven Business Schools with the Help of a Third Mission Change Management framework.
EFMD Higher Education Research Conference (Oxford, United Kingdom) 2015
35 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2015
Date Written: 2015
Higher education institutions (HEIs) have evolved by focusing on two missions, research and teaching, constantly exhibiting isomorphic tendencies in attempting to attain and maintain their legitimacy and reputation. Since the 1990s a third mission emerged, obliging them to account for the impact of their activities in relation to their ‘external environment’. While research and teaching indicators are abundantly monitored, third mission indicators are still largely absent. In this paper, we empirically investigate the ways in which a business school currently deals with its third mission activities. The results of this qualitative study revealed a malaise regarding the perceived value of measuring third mission activities, given that they are not recognized in official ranking systems. They also showed that the newly designed third mission frameworks are perceived as just another indicator hunting exercise. Finally, in order to sustainably implement a third mission mindset within a business school, our findings demonstrated that a strategic change management process needs to be envisaged. Such a strategy may help business schools to move away from the isomorphic practices that have consistently dogged their development since their inception and to focus on differentiation strategies, enabling them to re-generate more sustainable interactions with the business world.
Keywords: isomorphism, third mission, change management, business school, HEI
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