• Sharifa Al Harthy

Student thesis: Phd


AbstractManchester Business School Manchester Institute of Innovation ResearchSharifa H Alharthy, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)The Entrepreneurial University and The Entrepreneurial Environment: Organizational Analysis and Policy considerations This thesis presents a study of the 'Entrepreneurial University'. It develops a framework for conceptualising the entrepreneurial university by interrogating literature and secondary sources. Regardless of the increasing body of literature on the entrepreneurial university concept, it is revealed to be under-theorized. This literature starting from Clark's initiatives up until recent publications focus on case studies which are not analytically driven. This gap in the theory of the entrepreneurial university inspired the study aim, which is to develop an analytical framework that can be used as a tool to identify 'The Entrepreneurial University' from any other 'classic university.The study argues that there are three main aspects affecting universities' transformation toward entrepreneurial organization. These are: organization, external environment, and the interaction between organization and external environment. The first aspect investigates the entrepreneurial organizational dimensions, with a comprehensive framework of five organizational dimensions namely managerial, funding resource, mission, external collaboration, and cultural dimension. This been developed as a 'compass' to characterize two ideal types of entrepreneurial university. The second and third aspects address the concepts of the entrepreneurial environment and the coherence between the entrepreneurial organization and the entrepreneurial environment where the university exists. The concept of National Education, Research and Innovation (ERI) Funding and Policy Spaces (NERI-FPS) (Nedeva 2013) has been selected as the most appropriate framework for characterizing the entrepreneurial coherence, and analyzed for this purpose, where the variety of opportunities and flexible selection process are seen to be the key elements for the coherence between them. This adds a new development to the theory. Both the entrepreneurial framework and the NERI-FPS have been tested using four European case universities, from the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.The framework is applied to the universities and policy environment in Oman as an example of a developing country seeking to use entrepreneurship as a solution to socio-economic problems. Using qualitative analysis of documentation and detailed interviews, the framework is shown to reveal characteristics of the universities which can be used to develop policy actions. The results reveal that Omani universities are "classic" universities. However, to shift toward an entrepreneurial approach, five scenarios are suggested for Oman, and a pathway toward fully-fledged entrepreneurial universities is illustrated. First an online survey served as a pilot study, the results of which were then used to formulate the second stage which was semi- structured interviews with two Omani universities, and the third stage was in-depth interviews with Omani policy makers. This approach improves the internal validity of the research, and provides a rich picture of the universities and their environment.Finally, the study provides a framework which characterises entrepreneurial universities along a number of context-neutral dimensions which could take the research forward. The novelty of using case of Oman as an empirical study added new contribution into the field. In addition, this study contributes to a better understanding of policy actions with regard to entrepreneurial transformation.
Date of Award1 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMaria Nedeva (Supervisor) & Kate Barker (Supervisor)


  • Entrepreneurial University, entrepreneurial environment, Coherence

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