Choice of Structure, Business Model, and Portfolio: Organisational Models of Knowledge Transfer Offices in British Universities
British Journal of Management, Forthcoming
35 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2017 Last revised: 25 Mar 2017
Date Written: January 13, 2017
This paper addresses the gap in the knowledge transfer literature around how universities choose specific organisational models for their knowledge transfer offices (KTOs). Organisation theory points towards strong interlinkages between strategy, structure, and processes in organisations. This motivates an exploration of similar links within the organisational setup of KTOs. In doing so, the paper provides a unified theoretical framework around a university’s choice of structure, business model and strategic preferences for their KTOs linked to university specific contextual factors. A qualitative approach is used wherein four very distinct British universities are examined as individual case studies. We find that strategic aims of the university around practitioner engagement, the quantity of applied research and research specialisation are key factors in determining the organisational characteristics of the KTO. The theoretical framework derived from the cases makes two key contributions to the university knowledge transfer literature. First, it links the university level contextual factors to the local model of knowledge transfer. Second, it allows us to develop a set of generic models of knowledge transfer which can potentially guide universities to develop their own specific models.
Keywords: Research Commercialisation, Knowledge Transfer, Knowledge Transfer Office, Academic Engagement, Higher Education
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