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R. Castro1, C. Mio2, J.P. Garcia-Sabater3, C. Pinho4

1Research Unit on Competitiveness, Governance and Public Policies (GOVCOPP) - Universidade de Aveiro / Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana (UEFS) (PORTUGAL)
2Ca’ Foscari University Venice (ITALY)
3Universitat Politécnica de València (SPAIN)
4Research Unit on Competitiveness, Governance and Public Policies (GOVCOPP) - Universidade de Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
This paper aims at contributing to the discussion on the role of the interactions University-Industry in the context of effects of the economic and financial crisis in Europe, namely, unemployment, by a combination of three pillars:
(i) Stakeholder’s Theory;
(ii) Sustainability;
(iii) Europe’s 2020 growth strategy.

Higher Education literature and Organizations around the word have claimed the relevance of Industry and Higher Education (HE) interactions, mainly defined as Third Mission/stream/function of Higher Education Institutions (HEI), to the socio-economic development societies (e. g. Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff 1997; Santoro & Chakrabarti, 2002). At the core of these claims are the assumptions of the corporate social responsibility present in the stakeholder theory’s literature, both in the business and higher education fields.

The general idea of this Theory is that the decision-making processes and the economic value of a firm are related to the management of the relationships with all internal and external actors. (e. g. Freeman, 1984 ; Mitchell, Aggle & Wood, 1997 ). Therefore, the relevance of these relationships envisages primarily the economic rationale.

Higher Education governance literature has stressed the role of stakeholder’s relationships to improve HE governance in order to make the institutions more responsive to environmental needs, considering the particular social and economic roles of HEIs in society (e. g. Etzkowitz, & Leydesdorff, 1997 ; Jongbloed, Enders & Salerno, 2008 ). Thus, the relevance of the stakeholder’s relationships in the HE context has macroeconomic rationales related to the local/regional/national development. However, the current global scenario, also characterized by both financial crises and entrepreneurship in the Higher Education context has also influenced the relevance of the economic rationales of stakeholder’s relationships.

Recent empirically-based studies have identified the interdependencies between HE and Business contexts in the Portuguese and Dutch environment through quantitative analyses. For example, Castro, Rosa and Pinho; 2015 have established that the more importance is attributed to the companies, the more accomplished are the internationalization’s benefits and confirmed the mutual influence of companies and HEI regarding the development of higher education internationalization in Portugal, and The Netherlands.

[1] Castro, R., Rosa, M. J., & Pinho, C. (2015). A Model for Stakeholders’ Influence on Internationalization: A Contribution From the Portuguese, Brazilian, and Dutch Cases. Journal of Studies in International Education, 19(2), 160-181.
[2] Freeman, R. E. (1984). Strategic management: A stakeholder approach: Cambridge University Press.
[3] Etzkowitz, Henry and Loet Leydesdorff (eds.) (1997). Universities in the Global Economy: A Triple Helix of University-Industry-Government Relations.
[4] Jongbloed, B., Enders, J., & Salerno, C. (2008). Higher education and its communities: Interconnections, interdependencies and a research agenda. Higher Education, 56(3), 303-324.
[5] Mitchell, R. K., Agle, B. R., & Wood, D. J. (1997). Toward a theory of stakeholder identification and salience: Defining the principle of who and what really counts. Academy of management review, 22(4), 853-886.