University Industry Knowledge Exchange and Academics' Professional Development

  • Fahdia Khalid

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Business (DBA)


This study aims to investigate Knowledge Exchange as part of HE academics’ role and if it can serve the goals of professional development for academics. The broader purpose is to evaluate the value of University Industry Knowledge Exchange (UIKE) and Professional Development (PD) functions, from academics’ perspective and to investigate how these functions can facilitate academics to cope up with emerging expectations from external and internal stakeholders. Incorporating literature from Human Resource Management and Teacher Training, the study takes a deeper look at academics’ professional practices and proposes a more holistic approach to PD beyond a discrete and resource intensive function.
The methodology chosen for this qualitative study is guided by its research question. The data was collected by carrying out twenty one-on-one semi-structured interviews of academics, selected on a pre-determined criterion. The interview guide was developed applying a rigorous three step validation process. The data analysis was carried out using Gioia’s Inductive logic approach to interpretive grounded theory, where the focus had been on the in-depth analysis of the interviews to develop data structures and establishing their interrelationships. The software programme NVIVO-12 was used for data management and analysis.
A vast majority of the participants supported the idea of KE being central to their professional practice and also offering an ongoing PD opportunity. Moreover, they also agreed on the need for a more aligned and robust support system to encourage voluntary engagement in KE activities. Based on Person-Environment Fit theory, the study has concluded Six Dimensions of academic-HEI fit that can facilitate establishing an environment conducive for enhancing academics’ participation in KE. The model provides six dimensions of fit three of them are at an institutional level, namely governance-fit, strategic-fit and function-fit and other three are at an individual level, namely design-fit, HR-fit and development-fit. It proposes an integrated view of PD for academics, as part of academics’ job routine such as related to teaching and learning, research and other community engagement activities that in turn enhances students’ experiences.
An immense amount of research is already available on the topic of PD for academics which is largely based on the analysis of various formal PD activities; this research, however, contributes to the existing body of knowledge by focusing on informal and academics’ driven PD function. It advocates for a proactive, dynamic and work-integrated approach to PD function. The study investigates PD for and through UIKE activities, which is a novice perspective and provides an opportunity to contribute to the two increasingly important fields of HE studies.
The study attempts to offer a developmental view of UIKE and argues for establishing an organizational internal environment that is conducive for academics’ participation in KE. The study has accounted for various forms of KE activities under one umbrella, further research can be carried out to investigate the value of each form of KE activity for PD purposes. The study has presented the HE-side of KE, further studies can be carried out incorporating the industry side of KE and its impact on their employees’ professional development function, respectively.
Date of Award18 Nov 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJack Lee (Supervisor), John Brennan (Supervisor) & Dan Davies (Supervisor)


  • Knowledge Exchange
  • University Industry Collaboration
  • Professional Development
  • Teacher Professional Development
  • person environment fit
  • role of academics
  • Talent development in higher education
  • Learning theories
  • Inductive logic
  • critical realism

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