Advertisement

Higher Education Policy

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 129–148 | Cite as

A Lewinian Approach to Managing Barriers to University–Industry Collaboration

  • Cecilia BjursellEmail author
  • Annika Engström
Original Article

Abstract

Calls are made by governments, university management and industry to increase university–industry (U–I) collaboration to find solutions for societal and economic problems that are too complex to be tackled within one sector alone. Researchers are often expected to realise these ideas, but when it comes to everyday research and knowledge development, individuals may encounter barriers to accomplishing this. The paper presents an empirical study of researchers’ view on U–I collaboration. Our focus in the analysis, inspired by the Lewinian field theory, is on the hindering forces that might create barriers to collaboration from a researcher’s perspective. Contrary to the previously used approaches taken in force field analysis, we perform a qualitative study, which might be better suited for this framework. In the literature on U–I collaboration, ‘orientation-related’ and ‘transaction-related’ barriers have been identified. In our analysis, we discuss hindering forces on the individual, intra- and interorganisational levels. In total, we find 18 key areas to identify possible hinders for collaboration and based on a Lewinian perspective, we suggest that removing hindering forces can benefit U–I collaboration. The paper recognises the need to regard universities as equal partners in U–I collaboration for sustainable knowledge production.

Keywords

U–I collaboration hindering forces barriers Lewin field theory 

References

  1. Abramo, G., D’Angelo, C.A. and Costa, F.D. (2011) ‘University-industry research collaboration: A model to assess university capability’, Higher Education 62(2): 163–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agazarian, Y.M. (1997) System-Centered Therapy for Groups, New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  3. Argyris, C. (1990) Overcomming Organizational Defenses: Facilitating Organizational Learning, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  4. Argyris, C. (1997) ‘Kurt Lewin Award Lecture, 1997 Field theory as a basis for scholarly consulting’, Journal of Social Issues 53(4): 811–827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Argyris, C. (2010) Organizational Traps. Leadership, Culture, Organizational Design, New York: Oxford University Press Inc.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Arora, A. and Athreye, S. (2016) ‘Introduction to the special section on patent use’, Research Policy 45(7): 1323–1325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Auranen, O. and Nieminen, M. (2010) ‘University research funding and publication performance - An international comparison’, Research Policy 39(6): 822–834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Banal-Estañol, A., Jofre-Bonet, M. and Lawson, C. (2015) ‘The double-edged sword of industry collaboration: Evidence from engineering academics in the UK’, Research Policy 44(6): 1160–1175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beeby, M. and Booth, C. (2000) ‘Networks and inter-organizational learning: a critical review’, The Learning Organization 7(2): 75–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Benner, M. and Sandström, U. (2000) ‘Institutionalizing the triple helix: research funding and norms in the academic system’, Research Policy 29(2): 291–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bjursell, C., Dobers, P. and Ramsten, A. (2016). Samverkansskicklighet: För personlig och organisatorisk utveckling. [Collaboration skills: for personal and organizational development], Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
  12. Bruneel, J., D’Este, P. and Salter, A. (2010) ‘Investigating the factors that diminish the barriers to university–industry collaboration’, Research Policy 39(7): 858–868.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bryman, A. (2011) Samhällsvetenskapliga metoder (2nd ed.). [Social research methods], Malmö: Liber.Google Scholar
  14. Burnes, B. and Cooke, B. (2013) ‘Kurt Lewin’s Field Theory: A review and re-evaluation’, International Journal of Management Reviews 15(4): 408–425.Google Scholar
  15. Callaert, J., Landoni, P., van Looy, B. and Verganti, R. (2015) ‘Scientific yield from collaboration with industry: The relevance of researchers’ strategic approaches’, Research Policy 44(4): 990–998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chai, S. and Shih, W. (2016) ‘Bridging science and technology through academic–industry partnerships’, Research Policy 45(1): 148–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Crossan, M.M., Lane, H.W. and White, R.E. (1999) ‘An organizational learning framework: from intuition to institution’, Academy of Management Review 24(3): 522–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Danermark, B., Ekström, M., Jakobsen, L. and Karlsson, J.C. (2003) Att förklara samhället [To explain society], Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
  19. Dasgupta, P. and David, P.A. (1994) ‘Toward a new economics of science’, Research Policy 23(5): 487–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Daza Campbell, T.I. and Slaughter, S. (1999) ‘Faculty and administrators’ attitudes toward potential conflicts of interest, commitment, and equity in university–industry relationships’, The Journal of Higher Education 70(3): 309–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dornbusch, F. and Neuhäusler, P. (2015) ‘Composition of inventor teams and technological progress – The role of collaboration between academia and industry’, Research Policy 44(7): 1360–1375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Grundel, U. (2013) Kurt Lewin’s metod Kraftfältsanalys i teori och praktik. En fallstudie av ett organisationsutvecklingsuppdrag på en akademisk teknisk institution. [Kurt Levin’s Force Field analysis method in theory and practice - A case study of an organization development assignment in an academic technical institution] Licentiate thesis, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden.Google Scholar
  23. Haig, B.D. (2008) ‘An abductive perspective on theory construction’, The Journal of Theory Construction and Testing 12(1): 7–10.Google Scholar
  24. Hewitt-Dundas, N. (2012) ‘Research intensity and knowledge transfer activity in UK universities’, Research Policy 41(2): 262–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hicks, D. (2012) ‘Performance-based university research funding systems’, Research Policy 41(2): 251–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hohberger, J., Almeida, P. and Parada, P. (2015) ‘The direction of firm innovation: The contrasting roles of strategic alliances and individual scientific collaborations’, Research Policy 44(8): 1473–1487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kafouros, M., Wang, C., Piperopoulos, P. and Zhang, M. (2015) ‘Academic collaborations and firm innovation performance in China: The role of region-specific institutions’, Research Policy 44(3): 803–817.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kvale, S. (1997) Den kvalitativa forskningsintervjun [The Qualitative Research Interview], Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
  29. Laursen, K. and Salter, A. J. (2014) ‘The paradox of openness: Appropriability, external search and collaboration’, Research Policy 43(5): 867–878.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lewin, K. (1997) Resolving Social Conflicts. Field Theory in Social Science, Washington: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mäkimattila, M., Junell, T. and Rantala, T. (2015) ‘Developing collaboration structures for university–industry interaction and innovations’, European Journal of Innovation Management 18(4): 451–470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Manjarrés-Henríquez, L., Gutiérrez-Gracia, A., Carrión-García, A. and Vega-Jurado, J. (2009) ‘The effects of university–industry relationships and academic research on scientific performance: synergy or substitution?’ Research in Higher Education 50(8): 795–811.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Markman, G.D., Gianiodis, P.T., Phan, P.H. and Balkin, D.B. (2004) ‘Entrepreneurship from the Ivory Tower: Do incentive systems matter?’ Journal of Technology Transfer 29(3–4): 353–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Merriam, S.B. (1988) Case study research in education: A qualitative approach. The Jossey-Bass education series, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  35. Meyer-Krahmer, F. and Schmoch, U. (1998)’Science-based technologies: university–industry interactions in four fields’, Research Policy 27(8): 835–851.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Miller, J.C., Coble, K.H. and Lusk, J.L. (2013) ‘Evaluating top faculty researchers and the incentives that motivate them’, Scientometrics 97(3): 519–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Morgan, D. L. (2014) ‘Pragmatism as a paradigm for social research’, Qualitative Inquiry 20(8): 1045–1053.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Nielsen, C. and Cappelen, K. (2014) ‘Exploring the mechanisms of knowledge transfer in university – industry collaborations: A study of companies, students and researchers’, Higher Education Quarterly 68(4): 375–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sabharwal, M. and Hu, Q. (2013) ‘Participation in university-based research centers: Is it helping or hurting researchers?’ Research Policy 42(5): 1301–1311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Scandura, A. (2016) ‘University–industry collaboration and firms’ R&D effort’, Research Policy 45(9): 1907–1922.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schein, E.H. (1996) ‘Kurt Lewin’s change theory in the field and in the classroom: Notes toward a model of managed learning’, Systems Practice 9(1): 27–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sun, P.Y-T. and Scott, J. L. (2005) ‘An investigation of barriers to knowledge transfer’, Journal of Knowledge Management 9(2): 75–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tartari, V., Salter, A. and D’Este, P. (2012) ‘Crossing the Rubicon: Exploring the factors that shape academics perceptions of the barriers of working with Industry’, Cambridge Journal of Economics 36(3): 655–677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. van Looy, B., Callaert, J. and Debackere, K. (2006) ‘Publication and patent behavior of academic researchers: Conflicting, reinforcing or merely co-existing?’ Research Policy 35(4): 596–608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Walsh, J.P., Lee, Y.-N. and Nagaoka, S. (2016) ‘Openness and innovation in the US: Collaboration form, idea generation and implementation’, Research Policy 45(8): 1660–1671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wang, J. (2016) ‘Knowledge creation in collaboration networks: Effects of tie configuration’, Research Policy 45(1): 68–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zhang, Q., Larkin, C. and Lucey, B. M. (2017) ‘Universities, knowledge exchange and policy: A comparative study of Ireland and the UK’, Science and Public Policy 44(2): 174–185.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Association of Universities 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education and CommunicationJönköping UniversityJönköpingSweden
  2. 2.School of EngineeringJönköping UniversityJönköpingSweden

Personalised recommendations