The importance of relational capital for universities has grown enormously in recent years, as relational capital enables universities to increase and enhance the effectiveness of their 'third mission'. In this paper a case study is proposed and discussed concerning an Italian university that has recently established a new research centre and, thanks to the success of the latter, has managed to enhance its relational capital. From a methodological point of view, an action-research approach has been used to analyse the case study. Consistently, the authors followed the stages of analysis, diagnosis and intervention. Firstly, the authors analysed the process through which the university managed to create relational capital, and the identification of the strengths and weaknesses of this process. Regarding the weaknesses, the authors proposed solutions to improve the process. This case study shows that the initiative of individual academics, a climate of mutual trust and commitment, and the alignment between the interests of individuals and those of the university played a key role in enabling the transformation of individual relational capital into the relational capital of the university. This article contributes to filling a gap in the literature on relational capital and universities and provides useful insights into how these organisations can encourage its creation. It also allows scholars, managers and policy makers involved in higher education to gain a greater understanding of this relevant topic.

Relational capital and knowledge transfer in universities

Francesca Maria Cesaroni
;
2019-01-01

Abstract

The importance of relational capital for universities has grown enormously in recent years, as relational capital enables universities to increase and enhance the effectiveness of their 'third mission'. In this paper a case study is proposed and discussed concerning an Italian university that has recently established a new research centre and, thanks to the success of the latter, has managed to enhance its relational capital. From a methodological point of view, an action-research approach has been used to analyse the case study. Consistently, the authors followed the stages of analysis, diagnosis and intervention. Firstly, the authors analysed the process through which the university managed to create relational capital, and the identification of the strengths and weaknesses of this process. Regarding the weaknesses, the authors proposed solutions to improve the process. This case study shows that the initiative of individual academics, a climate of mutual trust and commitment, and the alignment between the interests of individuals and those of the university played a key role in enabling the transformation of individual relational capital into the relational capital of the university. This article contributes to filling a gap in the literature on relational capital and universities and provides useful insights into how these organisations can encourage its creation. It also allows scholars, managers and policy makers involved in higher education to gain a greater understanding of this relevant topic.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2661762
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