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Sustainable Development in Organizations

Sustainable Development in Organizations

Studies on Innovative Practices

Edited by Mattias Elg, Per- Erik Ellström, Magnus Klofsten and Malin Tillmar

An increasingly competitive environment can lead to considerable problems for many organizations as they struggle to adapt to change. As a result, they fail to create the conditions that can lead to sustainable development over the long term, thus affecting the capabilities of employees. This book provides a fresh perspective on sustainable change and development in organizations, as well as a critical perspective on lean implementation, work environment and sustainability.

Chapter 15: The permeable university – a study of PhD student mobility and academic entrepreneurship intentions

Dzamila Bienkowska, Henry Etzkowitz and Magnus Klofsten

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, organisational innovation, organisation studies


Triple helix permeability is the ability to move people and exchange ideas within and among institutional spheres. Permeability symbolizes in this context an ability of the organizational boundary to let through entities such as individuals and their ideas in both directions, both inwards and outwards. Universities and their sponsors are currently interested in developing practices and programs to encourage interaction of both students and faculty with industry and external organizations. This is driven by a need to reinforce academia as a catalyst for economic activity and regional development (Klofsten et al., 1999; Bramwell and Wolfe, 2008). Firms and governments exhibit similar characteristics that shift innovation from a closed to an open, from a static to an interactive regime. Defining and guarding organizational boundaries then becomes subsidiary to movement across them as flexibility of networks as seedbeds of economic activity and innovation gains in importance (Champenois and Etzkowitz, 2014). Rigid organizational boundaries impede the movement around the institutional spheres. Conversely, open boundaries encourage mobility and movement and enhance the chances that technology transfer and entrepreneurial spin-offs from the university will take place. Mobility can also be increased through specific measures such as legitimating dual roles of individuals, other institutionalized links, as well as through the design of career paths and educational programs.

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