Universities have a special role to play in the development of new methods and measuring instruments. The focus on providing students and society with a special tool kit which allows others to better evaluate, understand and cope with similarities and differences will be crucial. Important is also the selection of information that firms need to know. In an era where information overload replaces information scarcity, it must become the task of universities to enable others to maximize their learning with a paucity of materials.
Universities need to demonstrate the benefits they can offer. When one considers the expansion and influence of the Roman Empire, it turns out that force played only a small role. Rather, by offering market places, roads, language, laws, and linkages, the Romans provided efficiency, safety, consistency, communication and insights within their realm. Outsiders then were not forced to join, but did so because affiliation offered the opportunity to live a better life. Universities need to achieve such voluntary interest as well. Given their knowledge base, their human talent and their cross-disciplinary capabilities, universities need to make the cost of non-collaboration unreasonably high to firms, so that they become a sought after source and partner.
This post is part of a series by Michael Czinkota of Georgetown University and Andreas Pinkwart of Handelshochschule Leipzig on international business research and the new role of universities. Find Part 8 here.
Part 8: Making Universities Visibly Relevant To Business.
Simon Marginson, in his article “Dynamics of national and global competition in higher education,” stated that parallel to the organizational internationalization, university competitiveness is defined internationally by research capacity, output and quality. Hugo Horta concurs, claiming in his article “Global and national prominent universities: internationalization, competitiveness and the role of the State” that local rankings are strongly based on research and exposition of institutional insights about international issues. As such, according to Anne Chapman and Davis Pyvis in their article “Quality, identity and practice in offshore university programmes: issues in the internationalization of Australian higher education,” internationalization remains often an instrument of status for both students and faculty.
Nelly P Stromquist wrote in “Internationalization as a response to globalization: Radical shifts in university environments” that given the rising competition emanating from globalization, there is also a growing emphasis on market forces in the process of educational decision-making. It therefore becomes imperative that universities offer content in their research and teaching which provides the kind of knowledge that is attractive to and supported by corporate activity. The work needs to consider the ‘problem hot spots’ of firms and society mentioned earlier, and by explicitly accepting firms as stakeholders who need and deserve the benefit of international networks and multidisciplinarity.
The authors of The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals and Organizations Are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World contend that businesses and universities jointly need to consider the overlaps of system interests and the need to collaborate with the goal of long-term security for their future. Their time horizons differ substantially, where companies are focused on the short term while faculty tends to look far more down the road, according to Ben Schiller’s article “Academia strives for relevance” in the Financial Times, yet there could be a compromise with an emphasis at eventual relevance. Might someday a business executive even participate in the ‘peer review’ of an academic business article?
This post is part of a series by Michael Czinkota of Georgetown University and Andreas Pinkwart of Handelshochschule Leipzig on international business research and the new role of universities. Find Part 7 here.