Higher Education Policy

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 533–553 | Cite as

An Empirical Study of the Innovative Culture in Ireland’s Higher Education Institutions

  • Qiantao ZhangEmail author
  • Charles Larkin
  • Brian M. Lucey
Original Article


This paper investigates the perception amongst insiders of the degree of innovativeness of organisational culture in Ireland’s higher education institutions. While the role of higher education institutions has expanded to include being a driver of innovation, we suggest that any such body is perhaps best suited to achieve this if it itself is innovative. We review the literature on corporate innovation, discuss a recent metric of innovativeness in culture and present the results of a large-scale survey on said culture within the higher education sector in Ireland. There is a divide between the university and institutes of technology sector, with organisational culture in universities being perceived to be much more innovative than that in institutes, despite these latter being designed to be closer to industry. We also find that STEM faculty members see culture as less innovative than others. These findings raise questions around the implicit and explicit thrusts of Irish higher education policy.


innovation organisational culture universities institutes of technology Ireland 



The authors acknowledge financial support from the Irish Research Council (RPG2013-6 (SFI/HEA Assessing the Impact of Publicly Funded Research, Development and Innovation), Theme 2). We thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which helped us to improve the paper. The usual disclaimer applies.


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Copyright information

© International Association of Universities 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qiantao Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Charles Larkin
    • 1
  • Brian M. Lucey
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Trinity Business SchoolTrinity College DublinDublin 2Ireland
  2. 2.Faculty of EconomicsUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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