The Third Mission in the Academic Profession: Empirical Insights into Academic Identities

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Püttmann, V.; Thomsen, S.L.: The Third Mission in the Academic Profession: Empirical Insights into Academic Identities. Hannover : Institutionelles Repositorium der Leibniz Universität Hannover, 2022 (LCSS Working Papers ; 12), 23 S. DOI:

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Sum total of downloads: 320

In line with the growing relevance of higher education and science for societal developmentand innovation processes, there has been a steady increase in the salience of interrelationswith the extra-academic environment in the context of academics’ work. Insights into the statusof this so-called third mission in the academic profession remain fragmented, however. Weuse the concept of an academic identity as an analytical lens to investigate this statusempirically based on an original survey among 4,284 professors in Germany across the fullrange of academic disciplines. The results show that the third mission is firmly included in theacademic identities of many, but not all, professors and that the forms of inclusion differ.Specifically, we are able to identify four types of identities: (1) the dedicated type whoembraces the third mission as a whole; (2) the idealistic type who emphasizes responsibilitytoward society and sociopolitical matters; (3) the pragmatic type who emphasizes materialwork-related and personal benefits; and (4) the reserved type, characterized by an overalldistanced stance. We furthermore find evidence of a strong impact of disciplinary communitieson the specific types of identities that academics develop, whereas the organizational contextand the cohorts to which academics belong appear less relevant. In addition, there areindications that individual characteristics shape the identity formation process. Last, there arestrong and differential associations between academics’ identities and their actual third missionengagement. Overall, it appears that the third mission—at least if its multifaceted nature isconsidered—is a relevant area of activity for a significant share of the academic profession.
License of this version: Es gilt deutsches Urheberrecht. Das Dokument darf zum eigenen Gebrauch kostenfrei genutzt, aber nicht im Internet bereitgestellt oder an Außenstehende weitergegeben werden.
Document Type: Report
Publishing status: publishedVersion
Issue Date: 2022
Appears in Collections:LCSS Working Papers : Schriftenreihe Leibniz Center for Science and Society

distribution of downloads over the selected time period:

downloads by country:

pos. country downloads
total perc.
1 image of flag of Germany Germany 179 55.94%
2 image of flag of United States United States 29 9.06%
3 image of flag of Colombia Colombia 19 5.94%
4 image of flag of Netherlands Netherlands 13 4.06%
5 image of flag of France France 5 1.56%
6 image of flag of Pakistan Pakistan 4 1.25%
7 image of flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 4 1.25%
8 image of flag of China China 4 1.25%
9 image of flag of Belgium Belgium 4 1.25%
10 image of flag of Ireland Ireland 3 0.94%
    other countries 56 17.50%

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