University of Twente Student Theses


Universities and societal pressures

Jansen, Henri (2010) Universities and societal pressures.

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Abstract:Society is facing a number of ‘grand social challenges’. These challenges are very diverse. Examples of these challenges are: climate change, resource scarcity, urban sustainability, and efficient, high quality health care. Organizations will somehow have to deal with these ‘grand social challenges’. Ackoff (1999) defines these kinds of challenges as ‘multi-disciplinary messes’. From Greenwood’s (2007) definition, it becomes clear that these are the kinds of problems that university graduates will have to deal with in their working life. These are problems that will have to be addressed from different angles. The reaction of universities to these challenges is discussed in this thesis because of the unique and diverse roles universities have played in our society throughout the previous centuries. The unique characteristics a university possesses make it interesting to study how this organization is reacting to these challenges. Universities have not always been thought of in the same way. The ‘idea of a university’ has changed over the past decades (Grit, 2000). First, universities were seen as a ‘classical’ institution, in which for example knowledge was seen as a product of the human mind. Later the critical university emerged, where knowledge became a social phenomenon. More recently, the entrepreneurial university came into existence. Knowledge became an economic commodity. All these stages can be interpreted in terms of different pleas from which universities operate. In this research, the possibility of a new plea, coming into existence in response to the ‘grand social challenges’, has been examined. The university of Twente has been used as a case study. And within this institution, the educational function has been researched. We have primarily done this in order to keep the research manageable.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Het Tweede Leven (H2L)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration BSc (56834)
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