(Dimension 3) Relationships with external stakeholders

This dimension refers to an institution’s awareness and knowledge of external stakeholders, as well as specific capabilities that are focused on identifying, engaging and managing relationships with them. If you wish to learn more about the engagement readiness concept and its dimensions, you can download the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report.

On this page you will find a set of tools for improvement of an HEI’s engagement readiness in terms of relationships with external stakeholders. If you have already completed your self-assessment you might have been directed towards specific tools from the set. You can also browse through the tools without participating in the self-assessment, but we strongly recommend the online self-assessment tool for building a tailored roadmap to engagement readiness, as well as specific recommendations for relevant tools.

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The Engagement Readiness Toolkit offers you quick tips for improving your organization’s engagement readiness level. If you don’t have the time to go through any other material, you can at least take this syntesized piece of advice with you through the day and reflect on it in your work. 

This one, as all suggested quick tips, is based on the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report, available for download on the Engagement Readiness Monitor website. 

Engagement readiness quick top: Relationships are one of the main factors that influence the ability of HEI to engage with industry and other external actors. Engagement often begins with existing "personal relationships", "informal exchanges" and "personal networks" of relations.

The Engagement Readiness Toolkit offers you quick tips for improving your organization’s engagement readiness level. If you don’t have the time to go through any other material, you can at least take this syntesized piece of advice with you through the day and reflect on it in your work. 

This one, as all suggested quick tips, is based on the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report, available for download on the Engagement Readiness Monitor website. 

Engagement readiness quick tip: HEIs should highlight the industry's strengths, research orientation, potential projects, and track record of successful collaboration in their communication with externals. To attract potential partners, the wider community needs to be aware of what the university is doing and what opportunities exist for collaboration.

Engagement and cooperation depend on networks. These are often based on trust, transparency, and reciprocity. The network is usually based on personal relationships and informal communication. The initiation of cooperation usually occurs in an informal setting: during coffee-cup conversations or through personal contacts. At the same time, collaboration and its success often strongly depend on who the business representative initially contacts at the HEI. The same is valid for the teaching side as well – sometimes courses are too personified and the teacher’s ambition, how cooperative and willing he or she is to implement the teaching together with the business community, can affect what the practical outcome of the course is. 

These conclusions were made by analysing Jamk University of Applied Sciences’ conducted expert interviews for the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report. Based on the interviews The Human Factor in Higher Education Institutions’ Engagement blog post was written. 

Terraces with greenery.
photo by Danist Soh on Unsplash

How can you use what you’ve learned to improve your organization’s engagement readiness?

The Engagement Readiness Toolkit offers you quick tips for improving your organization’s engagement readiness level. If you don’t have the time to go through any other material, you can at least take this syntesized piece of advice with you through the day and reflect on it in your work. 

This one, as all suggested quick tips, is based on the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report, available for download on the Engagement Readiness Monitor website. 

Partner's Structure and Needs (quick tip)

This case study presents an excellent example of how institutions can understand and explore the needs of their external stakeholders and create tailored solutions to those needs.  

The Open University is a non-academic department of Reykjavik University that provides programmes and courses for executives, specialists and managers from industry who would like to improve their work performance and strengthen their skills. The motivation for the cooperation in the open university programmes comes from companies that would like to increase their human capital as well as professionals that seek to expand particular knowledge areas. 

The courses and programmes, especially in the fields of technology, business and law, are practically oriented, based on case studies and entail close relations with industry. The Open University also provides courses and programmes which are customised to the needs of a particular company, their duration varies from three-hour courses to two-semester programmes and the teaching staff come from both academia and business. The number of participants in the lifelong learning programmes is comparable or even exceed number of regular participants enrolled in bachelors and master’s programmes. 

Cover page of the case study. A map of Europe as a background. Iceland marked on then map as the country of the case.

Think about what you are learning, how can you use that to improve your organization’s engagement readiness?

To ensure their engagement readiness, universities should have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system in which the data about industry and business collaboration is documented. There are plenty of commercial CRM systems on the market – the one mentioned in this video is only an example. The organization could choose and tailor an existing tool or even create one according to its needs and resources. However, some on the features of a CRM system related to its benefits and practical use are unite. This is not a simple tool enabling the marketing of the brand but rather it should be used for managing tacit knowledge and ensuring the secure GDPR practices.  

In the following video, Jamk University of Applied Sciences’ principal lecturer Minna Tunkkari-Eskelinen has a dialogue with Tuomas Rauhansalo, who is a CRM administrator and an expert in coaching and using the system. In addition, Tuomas is currently establishing an eSport competence center in Jamk, so he also stands on the other end of the system – contacting companies, creating and using the information available on the CRM.  

Topics discussed in the video include: 

  • How could an HEI benefit from the CRM system?  
  • How is the CRM information being used? 
  • How is the CRM system used in the everyday external engagement? 
  • Who should be responsible for using the CRM system / producing the data? 

The video is 10:26 min long and contains on-off captions in English. 

If the video doesn’t display right, you can also watch it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wmGPE27ZAE

HEIs need many ways to engage with local operators. Businesses have different needs so the ways to engage must be versatile. HEIs play an important role in regional knowledge development and from this point of view they are in touch with business development. 

 In the following video, Jamk University of Applied Science’s project manager Inkeri Taurula interviews chief specialist Annimari Lehtomäki about BioPaavo by Jamk, Jamk’s business accelerator in bioeconomy and circular ecomony. The interview is a case example how HEI can engage with local operators. 

 Topics discussed in the video include:  

  • Introducing BioPaavo by Jamk 
  • The ways BioPaavo by Jamk engage with local operators 

The video is 3:06 min long and contains on-off captions in English. 

If the video doesn’t display right, you can also watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/ale1f_bl-3k  

HEIs need new innovative ideas how to engage with local companies. HEIs play an important role in regional knowledge development and from this point of view they are in touch with business development. 

In the following video, Jamk University of Applied Sciences’ project manager Inkeri Taurula interviews chief specialist Annimari Lehtomäki about a new and innovative way of supporting local companies in business development. This tool also gives ideas on how to harness the local knowhow in a productive way. 

Topics discussed in the video include:  

  • What is the Hackathon of BioPaavo by Jamk? 
  • What is the process? 
  • What are the benefits? 

    The video is 6:05 min long and contains on-off captions in English.

    If the video doesn’t display right, you can also watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/P5tR3PjMn20 

    This study examines the changing use of controls to manage an ongoing inter-organisational collaborative relationship. We do this by studying the development of an open innovation relationship using a case study informed by concepts from neo-old institutional economics and Simons’ levers of control. Data was collected via semi-structured interviews and an analysis of documents. Our findings suggest that initially, governance structures and formal safeguards were applied diagnostically, which resulted in low levels of trust. Over time, the development of a collaborative relationship through investments in relational specificity has resulted in a more interactive style of control, which has increased trust.

    Reference: Biswas, S. & Akroyd, C. (2022) Collaborative inter-organisational relationships and management control change. Accounting & Finance, 00, e12955.

    Link to the full article: https://doi.org/10.1111/acfi.12955

    Think about what have you read; how can you use that to improve engagement readiness?

    The functions of teaching and research in higher education institutions (HEIs) are being reassessed, with particular emphasis on the contribution they make to the welfare of their economic and social environment. To this end, HEIs need to engage in profitable relationships with various stakeholders and incorporate their respective visions into their own management practices. Hence, HEIs need to identify these stakeholders and their needs before defining priorities and relational strategies for each entity. The approach taken is theoretical and based on the combination of three different areas of study: HEIs, stakeholders and relational marketing. Since this subject is a recent topic in HEIs, the contribution of this paper arises from its overview of the empirical research previously conducted, and in this way, highlighting the current status of studies relating to the three themes, while simultaneously pointing out possible future lines of research.

    Reference: Helena Alves, Emerson Wagner Mainardes & Mário Raposo (2010) A Relationship Approach to Higher Education Institution Stakeholder Management, Tertiary Education and Management, 16:3, 159-181.

    Link to the full article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13583883.2010.497314

    Note that the article is not open-access.

    Think about what have you read; how can you use that to improve engagement readiness?

    SoleMOVE is a digital tool that acts as a system for international student and personnel mobility that is offered as a service from the Solenovo service centre, a Finnish company. This system is used by many HEIs for establishing mobility partnerships and have been described as practical and quite useful. The service can be used to prepare exchange agreements, manage organization information of universities, create electronic exchange applications, store mobility information and produce reports on the exchanges that are required by interest groups such as CIMO.

    Link to the product description: https://www.solenovo.fi/products/solemove/

    Link to the platform for user HEIs: https://saas.solenovo.fi/solemove/disp/_/en/public/nop/nop/

    Link to a testemony article and video about the use of SoleMove in Tampere University of Applied Sciences: https://www.solenovo.fi/2020/10/27/digital-mobility-system-facilitates-the-application-process/

    The Innovation Voucher in Ireland initiative was developed to build links between Ireland’s public knowledge providers (i.e. higher education institutes, public research bodies) and small businesses. Innovation Vouchers worth €5,000 are available to assist a company or companies to explore a business opportunity or problem with a registered knowledge provider. In an independent survey of companies that participated in the Innovation Voucher Programme 97% of respondents would be willing to recommend the Programme to other businesses.

    Link to the Innovation Voucher webpage: https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/research-innovation/companies/collaborate-with-companies-research-institutes/innovation-voucher.shortcut.html