Keywords: institutional entrepreneurship, universities, higher education, innovation, sustainable development, transdisciplinarity, sustainability, Sweden, research collaboration, institutionalisation
Institutional entrepreneurship in an academic organisation: sustainability at Malardalen University
This article describes and elaborates on a case of institutional entrepreneurship for sustainable development in higher education and research collaboration in a Swedish academic milieu. We argue, much in line with the contemporary international policy debate about climate change, that universities can and should have a leading role in producing new knowledge and innovation for the promotion of sustainable development. We consider that higher education and the whole university organisation, rather than just research, should be analysed regarding institutionalising sustainable development, which is not emphasised in the policy debate. In our conceptualisation of sustainable development, we argue that entrepreneurship and, more specifically, institutional entrepreneurship, can be used as an interesting normative and theoretical model. By drawing upon the concept of institutional entrepreneurship, we try to open up for the reflective exploration of three projects that illustrate the institutionalisation of sustainable development. While doing so, we identify the critical areas for further theoretical and empirical research from the perspective of institutional entrepreneurship.