From ‘shadowy cabal’ to new profession: networks of cooperation and competition in UK Higher Education fundraising
Recent UK government policy initiatives have encouraged universities to seek funding from philanthropic sources. Yet, there has been little investigation into the work of the emergent Higher Education professionals expected to deliver this additional income. In this paper, we consider the role of professional networks in facilitating knowledge exchange amongst university fundraisers. Through interviews with senior UK philanthropy professionals in the 1960s universities, we identify significant variations amongst professional networks and peer groups. We argue that professional networks are multi-layered and often exclusionary. Yet, among participants, these associations provide both open spaces of learning and a means of achieving competitive advantage. Moreover, the networks permit university philanthropy professionals to develop new distinctive identities, transcending the institutional and locational setting of their employing organisations. This paper advances theoretical debates on the complexities of knowledge exchange across spatial scales and the role of these networks in the establishment of a new profession.
- Business and Economics