Innovative Culture in Higher Education

People around a table

Innovative Culture

By Greg Price, Program Director, Master of Arts in Leadership Program

What is entrepreneurship and how can it be useful to learning institutions and not only as a means of subject matter in the classroom? How can leaders engage supervisory staff and administrators to become more entrepreneurial? And, why should institutions of higher learning become more entrepreneurial?

First, the idea of entrepreneurship is associated with the thought of profitability.  If this is how it is thought of, why should it be considered a viable theory within education leadership? Schumpeter (1934), asserted that the primary function of entrepreneurship is innovation. Through this discussion, we’ll explore and attempt to explain why innovation in our institutions is an important concept today.

The long history and, consequently, the current perspective held on by educational administrators and the profitability ideas associated with entrepreneurship, may seem to be at odds (Scott & Venkataraman, 2006).  However, the importance of learning more about entrepreneurship should provide the knowledge to understand how this leadership theory can be incorporated into higher education; not just the classroom, but the cognitive development of our institutional leaders.

Merging Leadership and Entrepreneurship

Corporate entrepreneurship has been recognized as an organization-level phenomenon where it has positively correlated to job satisfaction, rewards, and corporate culture (Zahra, Karutko, & Jennings, 1999).  Recent entrepreneurial success such as Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and more have become successful as a result of entrepreneurial strategies as a base of their success. This success has permeated the corporate cultures of these companies to the point where entrepreneurial strategies have been implemented to become part of the daily routine of those that work in these companies.

Research has shown that transformational and charismatic leadership theories are characteristically linked to organizational and entrepreneurial ideals (Zahra, Karutko, & Jennings, 1999). Both of these theories are identified with change and innovation.  One more so than the other but together, both offer institutions of higher learning a place to begin their explorations.

Creating Educational Capital as a Function of Job Creation

Universities must consider themselves as an integral part of the future job market. A function of a university is to create educational capital, (Greenwood, 2011) this capital develops future business leaders. Creating an entrepreneurial spirit within the educational environment will enable job creation as a function of this educational capital. University of Hawaii President, Greenwood (2011) also stated, in his video, “What I’m looking for is to create a culture here in the state of Hawaii that exceeds everyone else in terms of helping our students become some of the most nimble and entrepreneurial in the world.” The vision is to collaborate with business and venture capital to find innovative avenues to develop new approaches to learning.


Greenwood, M. (2011, January 15). UH president announces recommendations for creating an innovation economy. Retrieved from The University of Hawaii System website:

Schumpeter, J.A. (1934). The theory of economic development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard, University Press.

Scott, S., & Venkataraman, S. (2000). The promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research.  Academy of Management. The Academy of Management Review, 25(1), 217-226.

Zahra, S.A., Karutko, D.F., & Jennings, D.F. (1999). Guest editorial: Entrepreneurship and the acquisition of dynamic organizational capability. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 23(3), 5–10.

Published June 3, 2016



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