The entrepreneurial society and the role of the University


Universities are now widely recognized by public policies throughout the leading developed countries as being crucial for contributing to economic growth, sustainable employment creation, and competitiveness in international markets. The policy mandate for universities as an engine of economic growth has only recently emerged. The purpose of this paper is to explain how and why the role of the university in the economy and society has evolved considerably, and why it has emerged as a key institution facilitating economic development and growth in the era of globalization. In the second section of this paper, the role of the university during the era of what has been termed as the managed economy is explained. In the managed economy, the university seemed to be largely peripheral and tangential to economic goals. By contrast, the third section of this paper explains why the university emerged as a key source for knowledge in what has been termed as the knowledge economy. The fourth section explains why investment in research and the creation of knowledge does not automatically spill over to generate innovative activity and ultimately economic growth. Finally, in the last section of this paper a summary and conclusions are provided. In particular, the public policy mandate for the university in the entrepreneurial society is not just to generate new knowledge and ideas but also to facilitate their spill over from the universities and contribute to the formation of entrepreneurship capital.