From Social Institution to Knowledge Business
Edited by Maureen McKelvey and Magnus Holmén
We wrote this book for several reasons. One is simply that we want to understand and explain more about competition and evolutionary economic processes. Our curiosity does not stop solely at the doorstep of ﬁrms. Indeed, we wanted to ‘test’ whether relatively controversial and vague ideas about competition in European universities can be developed, from an evolutionary and innovation perspective. Americans have of course, known about competition and specialization of universities for a very long time. But what about Europe? What is going on here; do universities increasingly behave like ﬁrms or are they changing in some other manner? Participants in the workshops, presentations and writings in the project ‘Universities as Knowledge Environments of the Future’ sometimes surprised us by telling us we were dead wrong or sometimes surprised us by telling us we were ‘too right, mate’, followed up by, they wished we weren’t. Yet another reason was that we felt that what happens at European universities now and in the near future will aﬀect the future competitiveness of European societies. Now that is a big statement! But we have worked in, talked to researchers, and visited, universities in Australia, the USA, China, Singapore, and many European countries. Many feel that Europe might be falling behind – and yet few seem to have thought seriously about the consequences on ﬁrms and society. Or, to put it in EU and OECD language: the question of what is happening, and what can happen to universities – and to their personnel and services...