Building universities’ intrapreneurial capabilities in the digital era: The role and impacts of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Maribel Guerrero, Sohvi Heaton, David Urbano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have received a lot of attention over the last few years. Although the technological/pedagogical aspects of MOOCs have been well articulated in the literature, empirical evidence substantiating MOOCs' role in university outcomes is scarce. This study aims to fill this gap by exploring the relationships among (a) ordinary capabilities that are necessary to achieve the university's core strategies (i.e., teaching quality, research quality, and administrative quality); (b) intrapreneurial capabilities that are necessary to accomplish the university's entrepreneurial strategy (i.e., MOOC orientation by assuming risks, sensing opportunities, and transforming routines to become more innovative and proactive); and (c) the expected university outcomes from these strategies (i.e., prestige in teaching/research, attraction of local/international students, and diversification in the income structure). Based on an analysis of 145 universities around the world, the results show that MOOC-based intrapreneurial capabilities play a direct role in the achievement of university outcomes, as well as an indirect role, by mediating the positive effect of the university's ordinary capabilities on the university's outcomes. These findings contribute to the current understanding in entrepreneurship and strategic management debates about the antecedents/consequences of intrapreneurial capabilities. A provoking discussion and implications for theory, practice, and policymakers emerge from this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102139
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Dynamic capabilities
  • Entrepreneurial universities
  • Intrapreneurial capabilities
  • MOOCs
  • Ordinary capabilities
  • Sustainable competitive advantage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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