Since the 1990s, reforms of managerial practices in higher education settings have been significant and far-reaching. Among the policy instruments targeted by the global higher education reform agenda (OECD 2003; European Commission 2006; Santiago et al. 2008) there has been the central governance structures of universities, which are pivotal in increasing universities’ social responsibility and in prompting their effective response to socio-economic challenges (Capano et al. 2016; Jorge and Peña 2017).
Many studies analysed and compared the policy changes to central university governance structure (de Boer et al. 2010; Donina et al. 2015a; Donina and Hasanefendic forthcoming; Donina and Paleari forthcoming; Frølich, and Caspersen 2015; Kretek et al. 2013), but only few have sought to examine the efficacy of these changes (Deem 1998). In addition, the available studies about board composition, size, and structure provide inconsistent empirical evidence regarding the impact of board structure on organizational performance in both public and private organisations (e.g. Aguilera et al. 2008; Dalton et al. 1998; Frolich et al. forthcoming).
This paper aims to fill into this literature stream and addresses this gap by investigating whether the characteristics of governing bodies influence innovation output measured as patent activity and spinoff creation. The research question addressed is therefore: Does the institutional governance model of the university affect innovation?
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