Leveraging knowledge as a competitive asset? : the intensity, performance and structure of entrepreneurial universities and their regional knowledge networks

Zhang, Qiantao and MacKenzie, Niall G. and Jones-Evans, Dylan and Huggins, Robert (2016) Leveraging knowledge as a competitive asset? : the intensity, performance and structure of entrepreneurial universities and their regional knowledge networks. Small Business Economics, 47 (3). 657–675. ISSN 0921-898X

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    Abstract

    Universities are no longer considered to be isolated islands of knowledge, but as institutions increasingly engaged with a range of external partners through entrepreneurial activities. This paper examines the associations between the intensity and performance of knowledge exchange activities undertaken in UK universities with non-academic actors. Drawing on data concerning the structural factors of interactions of universities in the UK with external partners, the paper sheds further light on the nature of these activities through a prism of competitive and uncompetitive regions in order to better understand how universities may be able to leverage both their knowledge and partnerships more effectively as competitive assets. On the one hand, it is found that academics in uncompetitive regions are more intensively engaged in entrepreneurial activities but generate less income from them than their counterparts in competitive regions, suggesting that there are differences in the income-generating capacity of academics across regions. On the other hand, academic knowledge is found to be more strongly bounded within a certain distance in uncompetitive regions whilst geographical distance seems less of a hindrance to academics in competitive regions.