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Exploring academics’ lived experience of managing academic and commercially-oriented activities in a UK university

Krkjie, M Hussam (2017) Exploring academics’ lived experience of managing academic and commercially-oriented activities in a UK university. Masters thesis, University of Essex.

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Within the shifting context of universities towards the third mission, establishing rich understanding of how the key actors, academics, manage the two conflicting demands of commercialisation and science requires deeper investigation of their contributing to this shift. Drawing on theories of ambidexterity, role identity, the boundary work, and self-efficacy, this study examines how academics make sense of different tensions resulting from performing commercialisation activities alongside traditional academic ones, and how the negotiate the boundaries and their role identities to manage simultaneously the two activities. To answer these questions, this research explores the experiences of academics in a UK university through conducting in-depth interviews with 14 academics with various involvement in commercialisation; ranging from zero to high involvements in several forms of commercialisation. Interviews were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). The research suggests the following findings: First, the current experience of academics follows the logic of path-dependency in the sense that individuals seek to apply a previous pattern of behaviour; Second, this research reveals various identity negotiation and boundary work amongst academics confronting the commercialisation agenda. While academics with commercial involvement seek to converge between academia and commercial world and thus exhibiting a hybrid role identity, academics with no commercial involvement seek to diverge between the two worlds and exhibit a single identity, core academic identity. Whether they involve in commercialisation or not, academics take active steps to preserve their academic role identity; Third, academics involved in commercialisation engage in a cognitive process composed of building compromises, establishing synergies between academia and commercialisation, and building hierarchy between conflicting role identities. The findings clarify the socio-cognitive process, explain the behavioural mechanisms underlying academics’ involvement in commercialisation activities, and offer fresh insights to research on ambidexterity at the individual level, and on ambidexterity within university context.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ambidexterity, Ambidextrous academics, boundary work, commercialisation, Role identity.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD58.7 Organizational behavior, change and effectiveness. Corporate culture
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Depositing User: Muhammad Krkjie
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2018 10:59
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2021 02:00

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