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Journal cover: International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Online from: 1995

Subject Area: Enterprise and Innovation

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The story of a university knowledge exchange actor-network told through the sociology of translation: A case study


Document Information:
Title:The story of a university knowledge exchange actor-network told through the sociology of translation: A case study
Author(s):Sue Smith, (Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK), Mary Rose, (Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK), Ellie Hamilton, (Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK)
Citation:Sue Smith, Mary Rose, Ellie Hamilton, (2010) "The story of a university knowledge exchange actor-network told through the sociology of translation: A case study", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, Vol. 16 Iss: 6, pp.502 - 516
Keywords:Buildings, England, Financing, Knowledge transfer, Small to medium-sized enterprises, Universities
Article type:Case study
DOI:10.1108/13552551011082470 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to tell the story of the evolution of knowledge exchange (KE) activity within a department in a university in the north west of England and to understand this activity through the lens of actor-network theory.

Design/methodology/approach – Applying the sociology of translation to one qualitative interview shows how different actors were enrolled and mobilized into a KE actor-network. The process of translation consists of four stages, problematisation, enrolment, interessement and mobilisation of allies which have been applied to the data to tell the story of the KE actor-network. This is a cross-disciplinary approach using a theoretical framework from sociology and applying it to a management/organizational context.

Findings – This framework brings fresh ways of looking at the importance of KE networks within universities. Although limited to one interview, the methodology allows for an in-depth reading of the data and shows how resilient and flexible this actor-network is to withstand and respond appropriately to shifts in policy and subsequent provisions for small- and medium-sized enterprise business support.

Originality/value – Building from one case, the paper concludes that this account adds to an historical understanding of how universities become involved with KE activities. The inclusion of non-human actors allows for a deeper understanding of the actor-network and shows the importance of actors such as White Papers, pots of funding and physical buildings to the role of KE within higher education.



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