Towards the Third Generation University

Towards the Third Generation University

Managing the University in Transition

J. G. Wissema

Universities are undergoing massive change, evolving from science-based, government-funded institutions into ‘international know-how hubs’ dubbed third generation universities, or 3GUs. J.G. Wissema explores this dramatic change, tracing the historic development of universities, and exploring the technology-based enterprises, technostarters and financiers for start-ups and young enterprises that are the main partners of these 3GUs. He goes on to illustrate that universities play a new role as incubators of new science or technology based commercial activities and take an active role in the exploitation of the knowledge they create. The book concludes with suggestions regarding the way in which changes in the university’s mission should be reflected in subsequent organisational changes.

Chapter 9: Implementation and Assessment of 3GU

J. G. Wissema

Subjects: business and management, management and universities, organisation studies, education, management and universities


9.1 CHANGE MANAGEMENT Universities that want to migrate from a second generation university (2GU) to a third generation university (3GU) face an uphill battle. The 3GU comprises a number of characteristics that are contrary to the very idea of a 2GU, and members of the academic community will have to be convinced that the values held for so many generations have to be modulated and supplemented. Unless the university’s leadership adopts a carefully balanced plan for the migration, efforts to bring about change might lead only to frustration and confusion, making things worse rather than better. Change management is a profession by itself. Before moving to the specific 2GU–3GU migration, we will therefore first offer some general experiences. Few things are as difficult as good change management, a critical attribute for the successful implementation of the 3GU. Mark Twain is quoted as saying: ‘I am all for progress but it is change I don’t like’, and Lord Palmerston supposedly answered Queen Victoria when she suggested some change: ‘Change, madam, change? But aren’t things bad enough already?’ With their long histories and deeply embedded traditions, these attitudes characterise many academics. Or do they? The common misconception is that the ‘lower down’ one looks into an organisation, the more rigid people’s attitudes are. In earlier research in a number of companies, we tried to discover the extent to which this notion corresponds to reality (this section is based on two corresponding publications).157 The conclusion is...

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