How do responsible universities perceive their social engagement? In search of signs of Creating Shared Value by the University
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Gdańsk University of Technology
Submission date: 2023-03-28
Final revision date: 2023-11-13
Acceptance date: 2023-11-20
Publication date: 2023-12-30
Corresponding author
Elżbieta Karwowska   

Gdańsk University of Technology
JoMS 2023;53(4):451-465
University social responsibility still lacks legitimisation and is perceived as a burden that hinders academics from doing research and teaching. Creating Shared Value by the University may serve as a tool to motivate universities to engage in initiatives for society, as this is beneficial for both parties. Yet, some researchers perceive the creation of economic value as inappropriate for academia. Thus, it was interesting to examine how the world's best universities elaborate on this matter.

Material and methods:
A thematic analysis of textual data published online by universities in the top 30 in THE Impact Rankings 2022 has been conducted to determine if they create shared value and what benefits they create or expect.

Signs of indirect Creating Shared Value by the University were observed in the dataset. Some universities create social and economic benefits from the same initiatives, mainly strategic. The observed benefits are both intangible and tangible, but most are related to increasing brand value: receiving recognition and awards, building reputation, strengthening competitive advantage, boosting brand attractiveness, and employer branding. Universities modestly mention that they gain tangible benefits, such as an expansion of research funds, and earned or passive income, which may point out that such values are not perceived as suitable in an academic context yet.

The results shed new light on the perception of creating economic value in academia, indicating that CSVU could be a legitimate tool to develop the theory and practice of USR. Still, results suggest that any CSVU framework should focus primarily on intangible benefits.

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