Handbook on Hybrid Organisations
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Handbook on Hybrid Organisations

Edited by David Billis and Colin Rochester

Hybrid Organisations – that integrate competing organisational principles – have become a preferred means of tackling the complexity of today's societal problems. One familiar set of examples are organisations that combine significant features from market, public and third sector organisations. Many different groundbreaking approaches to hybridity are contained in this Handbook, which brings together a collection of empirical studies from an international body of scholars. The chapters analyse and theorise the position of hybrid organisations and have important implications for theory, practice and policy in a context of proliferating hybrid forms of organisation.
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Chapter 7: Hybridity and research organisations

Magnus Gulbrandsen and Taran Thune


This chapter discusses hybridity and hybrid organisations within research and innovation. Although this might represent a context in which hybrid organisations are prevalent, there have been few investigations and cases from research organisations, scientific work and science policy in the broader literature on hybrid organisations (Rainey and Bozeman, 2000; Gulbrandsen et al., 2015). Hybridity is not, however, a new concept in the literature on research organisations. It has been used to understand complex, contested and often temporary organisational set-ups that have often aimed to bring public research and development (R & D) closer to the needs and demands of industry and society. The emergence of new organisational structures that straddle established boundaries is partly related to internal developments within the scientific enterprise itself, where intellectual and organisational boundaries may be crossed in the pursuit and application of new knowledge (Gieryn, 1983). We can draw a distinction between two broad kinds of research organisation: universities and research institutes. We use the term ‘universities’ for higher education institutions – including specialised and regional colleges – that conduct research and teaching. Research institutes are organisations that have research and development as a main activity, whose funding is most often predominantly public, and which are not part of the higher education system. Formally, universities and institutes may be private (mostly nonprofit) or public but universities and research institutes have often defined themselves as part of a separate sector – the research and higher education sector, or academia – distinct from industry and also quite different in some respects from the public sector.

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