Chapter 5 The Third Mission of universities: a boundary object with interpretative flexibility
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This chapter joins the debate on entrepreneurial universities by analysing the Third Mission concept as a boundary object that creates conditions for the university-society relationship. Drawing from a pluralistic theoretical approach, we explore the experiences and interpretations of academic top managers who work with the contribution of universities to the economic and social issues of their environment. We use narrative inquiry to study personal interviews with the academic managers of Finnish universities. Via composite thematised narratives, the analysis details the Third Mission as a complex epistemic object, as an object of activity in everyday use and as infrastructure for entrepreneurial activities in universities, including academic entrepreneurship. The analysis enriches our understanding of the interpretative flexibility of the Third Mission concept in the context of higher education institutions.

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