This paper reflects on ways AR might support a transformation process in universities and in their relationship to the rest of society. As a point of departure, universities inherited from the 19th century Humboldtian university the credo of 'researching and teaching any important subject' and creating new knowledge through the freedom of thought. They became a state within the state. Universities came to try to nonopolize the knowledge production system while fighting the battle for freedom of thought and expression in academia. They have not, however, participated in the struggle to create knowledge based on and useful to groups in society other than powerful academic, political, and business elites.
Now universities face new challenges. The existing modus operandi is unlikely to survive for much longer because the users of knowledge and those who pay to keep universities open, question the relevance of university-created knowledge. This challenge arises from two very different social groups. Businesses are creating their own schools of advanced study and many ordinary people are disenchanted with university knowledge that does not relate to their own life world. This problem is particularly acute in the social sciences, since people have social knowledge of their own. Many pecple realize that social science produces knowledge about the everyday world that is incomprehensible or irrelevant to ordinary people.
We propose taking a different view of universities, conceptualizing them as members of many different knowledge supply chains, not as autopoietic systems. The ultimate challenge in a specific knowledge supply chain is to gain societal legitimacy for the knowledge production process and to supply valued knowledge for the users. Pursuing this approach forces a reinvestigation of the rigor/relevance argument. We argue that universities should seek legitimacy in the external world through integrating themselves in many and diverse knowledge supply chains and that this effort will simultaneously improve the quality of knowledge produced by the universities. We offer an Action Research strategy to achieve this integration by linking knowledge users into the research process and integrating the researchers into the knowledge production systems and activities of the users beyond the academy.
2001. Designing online courses: user-centered practices. Computers and Composition 18:4 ► pp. 329 ff.
Greenwood, Davydd & Morten Levin
2001. Re-Organizing Universities and ‘Knowing How’: University Restructuring and Knowledge Creation for the 21st Century. Organization 8:2 ► pp. 433 ff.
2000. Conflict and engagement: An empirical study of a farmer-extension partnership in a sustainable agriculture program. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 13:1-2 ► pp. 79 ff.
Halila, Fawzi & Joakim Tell
2013. Creating synergies between SMEs and universities for ISO 14001 certification. Journal of Cleaner Production 48 ► pp. 85 ff.
Lander, Dorothy A.
2001. Back to the Future of the Service University: Re-Membering Consumers Who PAR-Take. Organization 8:2 ► pp. 448 ff.
2001. Towards inter‐organisational empowerment? employee participation in the development of a network of small enterprises. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development 8:2 ► pp. 113 ff.
Tell, Joakim & Fawzi Halila
2001. A learning network as a development method – an example of small enterprises and a university working together. Journal of Workplace Learning 13:1 ► pp. 14 ff.
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