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Rethinking the university system: toward the entrepreneurial university (the case of Italy)

Walter Vesperi (Faculty of Economics, University of Messina, Messina, Italy)
Ineza Gagnidze (Faculty of Economics and Business, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Tbilisi, Georgia)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 8 July 2019

Issue publication date: 13 July 2021




The purpose of this study is to investigate contemporary changes in the education system. In particular, an analysis of the mechanisms of coordination and communication involved in the process can show how different geographical factors with different relational mechanisms may contribute to the creation of a new academic entrepreneurship.


The authors propose a methodology with two-step approach. In the first part of the paper, they use a theoretical approach to carry out a longitudinal study of academic literature on the topics of “entrepreneurial university,” “academic entrepreneurship” and “spin-off organizations.” In the second part, they use cross-database analysis to theorize the main aspects of recent developments in higher education in Italy. To this end, the authors use three public and open-access databases on spin-offs, universities and higher education institutions and incubators in Italy.


First, issues relating to the formation and best practices of entrepreneurial universities are discussed, based on the works of researchers from 25 countries. Second, a hypothesis is put forward to suggest that the organizational model of entrepreneurial university affects microeconomic competitiveness. Third, a case study of Italian spin-off organizations suggests that the number of incubators and spin-offs, and the type of academic knowledge, all directly affect the entrepreneurial university.


This paper aims to examine the role of the university in the modern economic system. The originality of this investigation lies in its ability to offer a picture and first analysis of the main actors and of the entrepreneurial university system.



Vesperi, W. and Gagnidze, I. (2021), "Rethinking the university system: toward the entrepreneurial university (the case of Italy)", Kybernetes, Vol. 50 No. 7, pp. 2021-2041.



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