, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 399–416 | Cite as

Doomed to be Entrepreneurial: Institutional Transformation or Institutional Lock-Ins of ‘New’ Universities?



Universities worldwide are facing enormous strains as a result of increased external expectations where global visibility should be mixed with local and regional utility. In debates on the future of higher education, becoming an entrepreneurial university has been highlighted as a novel – although perhaps a more hybrid – way to deal with this challenge. However, while the label entrepreneurial points to an image of the university as a dynamic free agent shaped in the interplay between dynamic environments and internal flexibility, the current article takes a more critical view on the factors conditioning universities with the ambitions of becoming more entrepreneurial – particularly those of more recent age and less academic standing. For these institutions it is suggested that the university ideal of being entrepreneurial may lead to a situation of strategic inertia characterized by an institutionalized ‘lock-in’ with few alternative development paths.


Entrepreneurial University Strategy Higher education Institutional profile 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Research Policy InstituteLund University School of Economics and ManagementLundSweden

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