An inside-out perspective on stakeholder management in university technology transfer offices

Geoffrey Aerts, Kathleen Cauwelier, Sam de Pape, Sophie Jacobs, Seppe Vanhondeghem

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This paper provides exploratory insight into the stakeholder management performed by the technology transfer offices (TTOs) of 5 Flemish universities. Based on the existing literature, applying an inside-out perspective, we investigate how TTOs try to define their stakeholders, which stakeholders they consider important in this regard, how they classify these stakeholders and, finally, what strategy TTOs apply to deal with their stakeholders. In the context of university TTOs, this research adds to the field of technology transfer, valorization and innovation by delving deeper into the stakeholder management dynamics from both a conceptual and a managerial perspective. The insights show that identifying, classifying & strategically approaching stakeholders is more ad hoc than structured or embedded for the approaches included in our study. The research shows that little use is made of definitions, classifications, or service-level strategy. Across universities, there is no structurally anchored strategic approach. The reasoning behind this approach is found in the dependency TTOs perceive in their relation to their stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Article number121291
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Geoffrey Aerts was born and raised in Antwerp Belgium, where he also currently resides. He holds a Master's degree in European and comparative politics e from the Universiteit Antwerpen, a Master after master's degree in Diplomacy and international relations e from the Universiteit Antwerpen and a master's in management science from the Institute for Transport and Maritime Management Antwerp, ITMMA. In 2015 Geoffrey Aerts obtained a PhD title in applied economics from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, after receiving a research grant, provided to the VUB Chair in public-private partnerships sponsored by Deloitte , Grontmij and Laga. He currently runs the VUB Business development Academy. Geoffrey Aerts’ academic work has focused on knowledge management/transfer, stakeholder management and project management and has been published in major scientific publications, including Project Management Journal and International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics. He furthermore won the triennial Joseph Merlot – Joseph Leclercq prize 2015 awarded by CIRIEC for his work in the field of cooperative economy.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • Stakeholder management
  • TTOs
  • Technology transfer


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