The softening bureaucracy: Accommodating new research opportunities in the entrepreneurial university
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 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.