Developing organisational structures that match internal as well as needs of external stakeholders is crucial for successfully embedding social entrepreneurship in higher education institutions (see also „Capacity building“ and „Building capacity with knowledge“)

The problem

  • A lack of capacity points to
    • The development of non-matching structures
    • Missing organisational structures

Solutions at institutional level

Several reasons might account for a lack of capacity, including the list below:

  • Too rigid design of organisational structures

While having developed structures and processes to facilitate social entrepreneurship some higher education institutions might face a situation in which these formal structures are hardly used, but more informal sorts of collaborations develop alongside these. Mostly this situation is caused by too strict and narrowly defined regulations that are not aligned with the needs of internal and external stakeholders. Assigning more degrees of freedom and loops to adapt structures can contribute to avoid the proliferation of additional structures.

  • Lack of resources

A lack of resources is not limited to a shortage of funding but also include a lack of expertise, knowledge and infrastructure needed to develop and embed social entrepreneurship in higher education institutions. Even well-funded institutional strategies might fail if the appropriate expertise and knowledge to implement them is not available. The planning of strategies should therefore consider these different aspects and aim at monitoring their implementation.

  • No ownership of social entrepreneurship strategy

Higher education institutions that do not define clear ownership at the level of institutional leadership or management often face the problem that activities fizzle out and planning is not followed up. Devoting managerial roles with clear tasks and competencies to embed entrepreneurship are indispensable for embedding social entrepreneurship.

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Other relevant resources
  • n/a
Links to selected HEInnovate case studies
  • Not covered by HEInnovate
Further reading
  • Benneworth, Paul; Charles, David; Hodgson, Catherine; Humphrey, Lynne (2013): The Relationship of Community Engagement with Universities’ Core Missions. In Paul Benneworth (Ed.): University Engagement with Socially Excluded Communities. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, pp. 85–101.
  • Benneworth, Paul; Cunha, Jorge (2015): Universities’ contributions to social innovation: reflections in theory & practice. In European Journal of Innovation Management 18 (4), pp. 508–527. DOI: 10.1108/EJIM-10-2013-0099.
  • Cunha, Jorge; Benneworth, Paul; Oliveira, Pedro (2015): Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation. In Patricia Ordóñez de Pablos, Luís M. Carmo Farinha, João J. M. Ferreira, Helen Lawton Smith, Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen (Eds.): Handbook of Research on Global Competitive Advantage through Innovation and Entrepreneurship: IGI Global (Advances in Business Strategy and Competitive Advantage), pp. 616–639.
  • azelkorn, Ellen (2016): Contemporary debates part 2: initiatives, governance and organisational structures. In J. B. Goddard, Ellen Hazelkorn, Louise Kempton, Paul Vallance (Eds.): The civic university. The policy and leadership challenges. Cheltenham UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 65–93.