The softening bureaucracy: Accommodating new research opportunities in the entrepreneurial university
Journal article, 2010
In the growing literature on the entrepreneurial university, the divergent attitudes between industry and academy are often put forth as a major obstacle to more fruitful collaborations. This paper presents a study of a major Scandinavian technical university (referred to with the pseudonym UniTech), suggesting that the organization of such collaborations is perhaps a more substantial challenge for the entrepreneurial university. Drawing on a body of literature that addresses bureaucratic and post-bureaucratic organization forms, it is suggested that the entrepreneurial university could emerge as a soft bureaucracy, that is, a hybrid organization form comprising both bureaucratic and post-bureaucratic elements. While the soft bureaucracy organization form offers distinct opportunities, it also demands the sacrificing of some bureaucratic features such as full transparency and the predictability of operations. As a consequence, the entrepreneurial university needs to institute a number of mechanisms and procedures that structure and guide its day-to-day work, and nourish an attitude whereby a certain degree of ambiguity can be tolerated. (C) 2009 Published by Elsevier Ltd.