Triple helix relations in innovation: conflicts, tensions, and struggles in rentier regions

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This study investigates academic entrepreneurship within a prism of the triple helix model of innovation relating university, industry, and government. It adopts a sociological approach, defines academic entrepreneurship as a social game, and aims to unravel the mechanisms of relations within the triple helix that arise in oil-rich regions, using oilrich Nigeria as case. In particular, it focuses on how socio-economic-political institutions of rentierism within these regions influence commercialization of findings of research. The study argues that the structural powers that shape academic entrepreneurship in different environments are governed by the interdependencies between agency and socio-economic - political institutions. This is in line with the prevalent claim that institutions impose rules that constitute constraints and enablers of agency. This study however argues that agential actions are not mere rules-compliance, rather they are strategic calculations based on pragmatic contingent decisions about what works best within given institutional dynamics. The study employs Bourdieu’s sociology as the conceptual framework, underpinned by critical realist philosophy. It uses data from multiple sources to transcend the agency-structure divide, and unearths the various conflicts, tensions, struggles and negotiations between the three players in the triple helix in oil-rich environments. Findings of the study offer new insights to academic researchers, industrialists, governments, and policy makers especially in knowledge-driven economies. It highlights the points of divergence of the key players in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship. The findings are also of significance to innovation and regional development policy-makers as they offer insights into what works, what doesn’t work and what may never work regarding policy; and illustrates that entrepreneurship and innovation policies that are effective in one clime may not necessarily be effective in another, thus highlighting the critical importance of institutional considerations in entrepreneurship and innovation policy-making.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of The 11th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
EditorsMinna Eskelinen, Iiris Aaltio
Place of PublicationReading, UK
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-911218-08-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-911218-07-4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2016
Event11th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepeneurship - Jyväskylä, Finland
Duration: 15 Sept 201616 Sept 2016

Publication series

ISSN (Print)2049-1050
ISSN (Electronic)2049-1069


Conference11th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepeneurship
Abbreviated titleECEI 2016


  • academic entrepreneurship
  • rentier states
  • bourdieu
  • social space
  • theory of practice
  • triple helix


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