Emerging Entrepreneurial Universities in University Reforms: The moderating role of personalities and the social/economic environment

  • József Berács
Keywords: the entrepreneurial university, university reforms, leadership, the socioeconomic situation, Corvinus University of Budapest


University education, research and other services are increasingly becoming private goods as opposed to the traditional public goods concept. This trend is a highly debated process, and its consequences for universities are unquestionable. One of the consequences may be the diffusion of entrepreneurship in the higher education sector. The aim of the present paper is to highlight some of the characteristics of this process. Starting with the classics of entrepreneurship literature, Schumpeter defined the entrepreneur as somebody who goes against the stream. A new combination of production factors is the soul of entrepreneurship, and of any changes such as university reforms. Earlier research by Clark shed light on the environment of emerging entrepreneurial universities, which happened to be mainly new, relatively small universities. He found five indicators that are components of entrepreneurial universities. Taking this concept as a point of departure, we extended it in two directions. First, we go back to the economics literature and collect several other indicators/statements about entrepreneurship that are also worth considering in higher education. Second, we present a number of successful entrepreneurial cases of large top universities, looking for other indicators. Summarising these indicators in a table, two reforms of the Corvinus University of Budapest and its predecessors are discussed. Both of the reform processes lasted about five years, and there was a gap of approximately 20 years between the two processes. We would expect this to be successful, as a university needs to be reformed every 20 years, but this was not the case. We
come to the surprising conclusion that, at least in case of the Corvinus University of Budapest, the two reforms in the socialist period were more entrepreneurial than the reforms we are experiencing now in a market economy environment. The explanation for this situation is twofold: the general socioeconomic environment is not really supportive of reform initiatives, and there is a lack of charismatic leadership.


Download data is not yet available.


Bahadir, S. C., Bharadwaj, S., & Parzen, M. (2009). A meta-analysis of the determinants of organic sales growth. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 26(4), 263-275.

Clark, B. R. (1983). The Higher Education System. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Clark, B. R. (1998). Creating Entrepreneurial Universities. Organizational Pathways of Transformation. IAU Press Pergamon.

Coase, R. H. (1937). The Nature of the Firm, Economica, (in Hungarian: A vállalat természete). In A vállalat, a piac és a jog (2004, Volume 4, November, 53-84 old.). Budapest: Nemzeti Tankönyvkiadó Rt. Csáki C., & Zalai, E. (1987). Képzéskorszerűsítési koncepció a Marx Károly Egyetemen (A concept of modernising the training of economists at the Karl Marx University of Economics). Gazdaság, 20(2), 94-108.

Csáki, C. (2013). A modern közgazdászképzés alapjainak megteremtése egyetemünkön (Establishing the fundamentals of modern economic and business education at the Karl Marx University of Economics). In Matematikai Közgazdaságtan,: elmélet, modellezés, oktatás, Tanulmányok Zalai Ernőnek (pp. 417-526). Budapest: Műszaki Könyvkiadó.

Drucker, P. (1985). Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Practice and Principles. London: William Heinemann Ltd.

Ennew, C., & Fujia, Y. (2009). Foreign Universities in China: A Case Study. European Journal of Education, 44(1), 21-36

Fábián, I. (2012). Nemzetközi kihívások és lehetőségek a magyar felsőoktatásban (International Challenges and Opportunities in Hungarian Higher Education). In J. Berács, I. Hrubos, & J. Temesi (Eds.), ”Hungarian Higher Education 2011” Domestic discussion questions – international trends, NFKK Füzetek 9, page 151-157.

Gould, E. (2003). The Univer$ity in a Corporate Culture. Yale University Hammond, K. L., Webster, R. L., & Harmon, H. A. (2006). Market Orientation, Top Management Emphasis, End Performance within University Schools of Business: Implications for Universities. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 14(1), 69-85

Hrubos, I. (Ed.) (2004). A gazdálkodó egyetem (The Economic University). Budapest: Új Mandátum Kiadó.

Hrubos, I. (2006). A felsőoktatás intézményrendszerének átalakulása – Válogatott tanulmányok (Transformation of the institutional system of higher education – selected essays). Budapest: Aula.

Kornai, J. (1992). The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Kornai, J. (2014). Dynamism, Rivalry, and the Surplus Economy. Two Essays on the Nature of Capitalism. Oxford: University Press.

Nagy, G., & Berács, J. (2012). Antecedents to the Export Market Orientation of Hungarian Higher Education Institutions, and their Export Performance Consequences. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 22(2), 231-256.

Nelles, J., & Vorley, T. (2008). Entrepreneurial Architecture in UK Higher Education Institutions: Consolidating the third mission, Paper presented at the 25th Celebration Conference on
Entrepreneurship and Innovation – Organizations, Institutions, Systems and Regions, Copenhagen, CBS, Denmark, June 17-20, 2008.

Pantic, N. (2012). Teacher Education Reforms between Higher Education and General Education Transformations in South-Eastern Europe: Reviewing the Evidence and Scoping the Issues. CEPS Journal, 2(4), 71-90.

Saloner, G. (2013). Reinventing Management Education: A Work in Progress. Stanford Business, Spring 2013, p. 1.

Schumpeter, J. A. (1968, 1926). The Theory of Economic Development, 8th edition. Harvard University. (In Hungarian: A gazdasági fejlődés elmélete, Budapest: KJK, 1980).

Shin, J. C., Toutkoushian, R. K., & Teichler, U. (Eds.) (2011). University Rankings – Theoretical Basis, Methodology and Impacts on Global Higher Education. Springer.

Vlasceanu, L., & Hancean, M.-G. (2012). Policy and Prediction: The Case of Institutional Diversity in Romanian Higher Education. CEPS Journal, 2(4), 53-70.

Zgaga, P. (2003). Reforming the Universities of South-East Europe in View of the Bologna Process. Higher Education in Europe, 28(October), 251-258.