The changing university business model: a stakeholder perspective

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171 Citations (Scopus)


Universities are in a current state of transition, whereby they are expected to develop a wide range of relationships with stakeholders in order to enhance regional innovation systems. However, despite external environmental pressures commonly regarded as one of the main drivers of business model evolution, there is a lack of studies that explore business model innovation as a result of multiple stakeholder influences. Accordingly, the aim of this paper is to examine the changing university business model within a region of the United Kingdom, using a stakeholder perspective that will aid theoretical development and refinement in both the business model and stakeholder fields. This examination is aided by consideration of the university business model as an activity system. Repeat interviews, combined with stakeholder theory, have been used to show how the changing university business model–stakeholder relationship has progressed through different stakeholder stages with resultant changes in content, structure and governance. Furthermore, conflicting objectives between each of the stakeholder groups (i.e. academics, industry liaison staff, technology transfer office staff and government support agency representatives) have led to the university business model evolving not as a process of co-creation but rather in a series of transitions whereby multiple stakeholders are continually shaping the university business model through strategies that are dependent upon their salience. Finally, this paper contributes to the development and refinement of business model innovation research, in that the use of stakeholder constructs can illustrate the impact of multiple stakeholders' power and influence on business model innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-287
JournalR&D Management
Issue number3
Early online date20 May 2014
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jun 2014


  • university business models
  • stakeholders


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