Higher education in the UK is a significant industry and makes a marked contribution to the UK economy.
However, post recession, the sector has been subject to financial constraints and destabilisation of funding streams.
My research is designed to throw some light on the interface between policy and organisational strategy, at a time of significant change within the sector.
It asks how is a sense of legitimacy constructed for the university's strategic response to policy?
I am carrying out a multiple case study (Yin, 1994), theoretically sampled (Eisenhardt, 1989), of two UK research-intensive universities, which are both 'multiversity', but founded at different times, and with particular areas of areas of historical strength.
I am focusing on the 'science and innovation' policy agenda, covering four governments, from 1992-2012. Conducting a qualitative narrative enquiry, collecting data from multiple sources, including 48 interviews, documentary analysis, and observation; I am collating and analysing 2750 pages of text.
Interview participants have been chosen based on their function or role, seniority, longevity, research priority area, and link with policy, and policy-making. Interviews are being carried out with current and former leading policy-makers, The level of analysis is the organisation, and the unit of analysis is narrative.
It is anticipated that there are two areas of potential impact. Firstly, for practitioners (university managers, particularly in research-intensive universities), there is potential for an improved understanding of the way policy is perceived, within institutional strategy making.
Secondly for policy-makers, within mission groups and BIS, there is potential for an improved understanding of how policy promoting a 'call to entrepreneurship' is received negotiated and implemented within organisational strategy of research-intensive universities by senior managers.