Chapter 2: Leaving the ivory tower: universities’ third mission and the quest for legitimacy
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For modern universities in Europe it is not good enough to contribute to the scientific community and to education: Even excellent teaching and path-breaking research alone are not sufficient to provide universities with legitimacy. A third mission is increasingly expected from universities: They should be socially embedded and contribute to the communities in which they are located. Both public and private stakeholders have obviously altered their demands. These institutional pressures and their effects are illustrated in this chapter at three different levels – at the organizational level, at the level of public policy, and at an international level – by analyzing programmatic texts which aim at increasing business universities’ sustainability. These analyses reveal the elements of the third mission, tracing its impact on the sustainability discourse that has been established as a contemporary university postulation.

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