Title: University knowledge transfer: exploring organisational structures to create strategic alignment

Authors: Allen T. Alexander; Kristel Miller

Addresses: Centre for Innovation and Service Research, University of Exeter Business School, in Cornwall, Penryn Campus, Penryn, TR10 9FE, UK ' Department of Management, Leadership and Marketing, Ulster Business School, Jordanstown Campus, Shore Road, Newtownabbey, BT370QB, UK

Abstract: Whilst knowledge and technology transfer unarguably present an important source of wealth for a nation and an important component of a modern university's offering to society, the management of this activity is complex and as a result, many economies struggle to realise their expectations. Academics and commercial organisations are quick to blame inflexible and bureaucratic university transfer offices and administrators for this shortfall. This paper takes an approach of exploring the structural arrangements of knowledge transfer offices across various countries to identify if different structures help overcome different strategic and operational challenges involved in university-industry knowledge transfer. The findings identify that interdependent and complex management practices coupled with equally complex organisational architectures lead to issues of conflicting pressures and ambiguous governance. Furthermore, this research illustrates a number of 'structural' solutions that universities have adopted to try to side-step some of the problems.

Keywords: knowledge transfer; university-industry collaboration; subsidiary; strategy; technology transfer; operational alignment.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTTC.2017.089661

International Journal of Technology Transfer and Commercialisation, 2017 Vol.15 No.4, pp.385 - 399

Received: 26 Sep 2017
Accepted: 26 Sep 2017

Published online: 31 Jan 2018 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article