Purpose. Our paper aims to investigate Italian universities’ third mission, considering the commitment communicated on their websites and with reference to values, culture, mission, vision, history and strategic plans. Methodology. We extracted texts from 91 Italian universities’ official websites, in their English version, and merged them in a single linguistic corpus. Using large-coverage lexical and syntactic resources, we processed the corpus by means of a computational linguistics software environment, called NooJ. With the creation of local grammars, we extracted information and data from the corpus, assigning to it structures, tags and classifications. Findings. The third mission’s concept of Italian universities reveals unclear: website communication contents refer to the third mission definition without specifying strategies, tools and activities useful to pursue it. Research implications. In literature, the analysis of the third mission websites communication is undervalued. Generally, authors’ main interests lay in technology transfer, spin-offs, patents quantitative research and organizational implications. Practical implications. Our method suggests a way to analyse websites communication, which could be transformed into benefits, in terms of clarity, as far as the third mission achieving strategies are concerned. Originality. In an innovative way, our analysis combines computational linguistics and managerial implications, providing a new tool and, then, a new perspective to assess third mission goals achievement.
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