University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

By the same authors


View graph of relations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-581
Number of pages23
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Early online date3 Sep 2014
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2016


The National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education (1996) chaired by Lord
Dearing envisioned a university sector central to the UK’s knowledge-based
economy. With successive government support the university-business
partnership ideology has been put into practice. Widening participation has
increased in emphasis over recent years, providing key innovations and skills to
support business growth. Yet business schools activities in business growth is
marginal against other university schools. The paper reports on an empirical
study analyzing the university/business values derived from one small business
engagement project. Data collected through semi-structured interviews,
observations, memos, and discussions were coupled with critical evaluation of
work and action-based learning (ABL) literature. Analysis reveals evidence of
multiple value adding factors; it emerged that the existence of knowledge,
present or generated through blended learning techniques, was a key value
adding element. The findings enabled the construction of a universal process
model providing a project framework, detailing areas of collaborative efforts and
associated recompenses; this included ease in project advancements and a
noticeably advanced project outcome. The study highlights these values in terms
of individual and organizational learning, originality and quality of outputs.
Given the growing importance of Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to
the UK economy, understanding the value co-created by collaborative projects in
delivering both work-based and ABL for graduates/students, academics and
enterprise management is important.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Studies in Higher Education, first published online 3 September 2014, available online:

ID: 10772836