Changing contexts of higher education policy: toward a new role of universities in Indonesia’s innovation system
Syamwil, Indra B.
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With the collapse of the 32-year ruling centralistic regime in the middle of 1998, decentralization became a buzzword within the public policy discourse thereafter. In particular, the higher education sector has been restructured under the heading of ‘university autonomy,’ characterized by a shift from previously government’s mission-driven, to a more economically driven steering mechanism based on contractual consent on objectives to be achieved. The work presented in the paper is situated within the above context of policy changes. Problem formulation of the research was guided by theoretical ideas that new/different mode of knowledge production is required if knowledge is to bring value to society. The aims of the paper are twofold. In the first part, through empirical research, the paper examines: (i) how the faculty members respond to the above described policy changes, and (ii) how different social conditions, in which a university is embedded, define different constraints and opportunities for universities to develop new external linkages and collaborations. Secondly, base on the empirical findings, we discuss the relevance of the notion of triple-helix in the context of Indonesia’s system of innovation. Our main empirical findings are as follow. Firstly, the ways faculty members respond to the policy changes seem to depend on a set of social elements, e.g. values, norms, practices, goals established in a network of relations, in which they are engaged. Secondly, reflecting upon the empirical findings, we see a good place for triple-helix model to be adopted within the context of Indonesia’s innovation system. Our findings show a way in which institutional blending may occur, that is through cultural embeddedness.