Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal (Print ISSN: 1087-9595; Online ISSN: 1528-2686)

Abstract

Challenging Tradition Exploring the transition towards University Entrepreneurialism

Author(s): Ayman Abu-Rumman

Purpose: This study explored, from the perspective of its staff, the extent to which a Jordanian University has become entrepreneurial and to examine the knowledge management factors which are most important in making this transition. Methodology: Following a systematic review of the current literature, and using a quantitative methodology, supported by a pragmatist theoretical approach, this study used an online anonymous survey to gather the views and perceptions of university academic staff about the entrepreneurial maturity of their own institution specifically, and more generally about the knowledge management factors which can promote entrepreneurialism in academic institutions in developing countries. Findings: The findings indicated that although the case example university was perceived as progressing well towards its aim of becoming an Entrepreneurial University, it was evident that institutions such as this face a number of barriers which is perhaps more prominent in a developing country like Jordan, where higher education is still more commonly viewed through a traditional lens. However, the findings indicated a good level of support for the use of entrepreneurial centres to act as business incubators, and there was an appetite for forging stronger links with businesses and on learning outside of the traditional university context. Furthermore, the findings suggested that the focus towards entrepreneurialism had led to improvements in knowledge transfer and application processes in particular, but that going forward academia and industry alike need to continue to adapt and change, align and strengthen knowledge management, and work collaboratively to achieve the archetype “third mission” with mutual benefits for all. Originality: There are limited studies of university entrepreneurialism within developing countries and the exploration of barriers and enablers that impact upon entrepreneurship within universities more generally. This study therefore makes a makes a valuable contribution towards the strategic debate on entrepreneurial universities.