• Justyna Dabrowska

Student thesis: Phd


Science parks (SPs) have evolved over time and their spectrum of roles and activities has broadened (Nosratabadi et al., 2011). From accidental developments in the 1950s (Charles and Uyarra, 2010) they became popular policy instruments across the world (Oh and Kang, 2011). They have gained international reputation and major institutions such as the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the United Nations have become increasingly interested in evaluating success of SPs. However, the literature casts considerable doubt on the success of SPs. Various methodologies used to assess the additionality of parks have focused on assessing the performance of park firms rather than evaluating SPs' own activities and actions. As SPs have matured, a few academics have highlighted the need for them to achieve the status of financially sustainable businesses (Goldstein and Luger, 1991; Allen, 2007) and to ensure that they constantly measure progress towards their strategic goals (Davies, 2013). However, measuring progress towards goals within the SP sector is not a straightforward task (Vila and Pages, 2008; Escorsa and Valls, 1996; Nosratabadi et al., 2011). The goals may vary depending on park shareholders who have different agendas and expectations (Luger and Goldstein, 1991). Moreover, unique features that distinguish SPs from typical property management organisations make their performance measurement even more complex. Allen (2007) demonstrates that mature or so called third generation SPs show characteristics in common with knowledge intensive organisations (KIOs). This observation led the researcher to review the literature and look for other evidence to argue that SPs should be considered as KIOs. Consequently, a new definition of a contemporary SP is offered in this thesis, and a new approach to performance measurement is proposed. This PhD encapsulates the outcomes of the action and survey research carried out between 2010 and 2014. The research took the Luger and Goldstein (1991) view a step further, aiming to develop a better understanding of what a successful SP means to public, private and university owners as well as to client companies, i.e. what they consider as success factors for SPs and how to measure progress towards these success factors. The outcome of the participatory work was an initial performance measurement system (PMS) which was tested at Manchester Science Park, completed and validated at survey research stage. Furthermore, the survey research findings demonstrate that there is a significant discrepancy between what the SPs already measure and what they think is important for them to measure (what they selected as key performance indicators for their organisations). The research offers a distinct approach on how to measure multi-dimensional performance using a theory grounded PMS in a knowledge intensive and multi-owner organisation, being a SP. Moreover, it proposes a common methodology that will enable SPs to customise the performance measurement tool to suit their parks' individual needs and requirements aligned with their ownership structures. The research supports the hypothesis that the ownership model of a SP is a key determinant of its appropriate performance indicators. The purpose of this research is to propose a more contemporary understanding of the SP and its success and to offer a tool that will help demonstrate this success. The empirical part of this research consists of two steps, first an exploratory part with action research and second, a validation stage with survey research.
Date of Award1 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorLuke Georghiou (Supervisor) & Ronald Ramlogan (Supervisor)


  • Science Parks
  • Performance Measurement
  • Performance measurement systems
  • Knowledge intensive organisations
  • Performance management

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