Higher education institutions (HEIs) are experiencing a challenging era due to demand–response imbalances. An assumed means of responding to the challenge is through the entrepreneurial university model, which adds a third mission to HEIs: to contribute to economic, technological and social development. Therefore, governments across the globe promote this ideal through system reforms and funding schemes, while HEIs ignite institutional changes. Publications also explore the entrepreneurial university model, although some scholars have criticized the new mission and its implied commercial orientation. However, little is still known about how HEIs are applying the model to become more entrepreneurial. Therefore, this article presents a systematic literature review comprised of a meta-ethnography on the transformation journey of 36 HEIs across 18 countries. The outcome is a four-stage iterative action-framework proposition, suggesting that exogenous and endogenous forces constantly influence HEIs which, in response, ignite experiments, requiring sensitization to be consolidated and later institutionalized, in an endless, long and rather slow process. This article contributes to theory by explaining the metalevel of HEIs’ entrepreneurial pathway process and to practice by providing policymakers and decision makers in HEIs with an analytical framework.
Change management, entrepreneurial pathways, entrepreneurial university, literature review, meta-ethnography