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Entrepreneurial universities and strategy: the case of the University of Bari

Rosa Lombardi (Department of Law and Economics of Productive Activities, University of Rome La Sapienza, Rome, Italy)
Maurizio Massaro (Department of Management, Universita Ca’ Foscari, Venice, Italy)
John Dumay (Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance, Faculty of Business and Economics, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)
Fabio Nappo (Department of Economics and Law, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Cassino, Italy)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 9 January 2019

Issue publication date: 22 November 2019




The purpose of this paper is to investigate why entrepreneurial universities choose a particular business strategy focussing on diversification and multi-nationalisation, and the role of intellectual capital (IC) in supporting such strategies.


The research question is answered through an exploratory case study of the University of Bari, Italy. Data were collected from strategic plans, annual reports, national evaluation reports and semi-structured interviews with the university’s board members and analysed using Secundo et al.’s (2016) collective intelligence framework.


The authors show how contingency factors, such as economic and historical reasons, justify both the diversification and internationalisation strategies, and how they both rely on IC.

Practical implications

The results of this study can be used by managers to support the development of entrepreneurial university strategies.


The paper is novel because it provides theoretical justification to strategy development in a university setting. Additionally, the findings contribute to the fourth stage of IC research by showing how IC can be used to support diversification and internationalisation in a university and support third mission goals. Finally, the paper provides an empirical application of the Secundo et al.’s (2016) model for understanding IC in universities.



Lombardi, R., Massaro, M., Dumay, J. and Nappo, F. (2019), "Entrepreneurial universities and strategy: the case of the University of Bari", Management Decision, Vol. 57 No. 12, pp. 3387-3405.



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