Cooperation Between Industry and Academia - A unique Model and Approach based on Israel as a Start Up Nation

Gad Ravid
Netanya Academic College

Israel is considered to be a Start –Up Nation.
As such one would think that learning would be in the DNA of the people and studying for management degree will be considered as a must both by management (as the sender) and by the individual manager (as a student).
In reality along the way we saw different approach and reasons for studying both by students and by top managements. We wondered why, and especially since we do, as a nation, want to continue to be the leading start up nation in the world. We do understand that only learning and proper management practiced and advanced knowledge will promise that.
A study we did which took into consideration the reasons why managers go for higher education on the one hand and why organizations send their managers to study and especially take part in our excellence program for the graduate final thesis on the other hand showed some interesting results.
Mainly It showed that organizations initially sent their employees to school (even pay for it) as a welfare act rather than for the development of both parties involved and for staying as a cutting edge organization. Many employees respectfully, came to school for salary raise based on achieving the degree or for better positioning in the market.
However as the student moved from one semester to the next, the students found learning as a very fulfilling and important experience (Baruch, & Peiperl, 2006), and organizations found a real value in the knowledge their employees acquired and brought back to the organization. Thus, many organizations joint our excellence program.
This process has many ups and downs on the way and we will explore them in our paper.
Based on all of this, we developed a unique academic-practical model of cooperation between industry and academia that takes into consideration the special character of the typical Israeli employee and the typical culture of the Israeli High Tech industry.
The model also deals with the usually not equivalent situation in which the student (the employee) grows and develops very quickly during his study and especially towards the end, and the organization and its management, culture and expectations stay well behind (Jiao, Richards,& Zhang ,2011). That situation of course presents a huge gap that might, if not treated well , have grave results on employee-organization relations and have grave consequences on the bottom line. . More specifically – with the basic Israel character of innovation and lack of respect to authority (which is one of the reasons we are considered to be a Start Up Nation) the more the employee learn, the greater is the challenge of the organization to control him, lead him, make him do what is expected from him as an employee and at the same time use his entrepreneurial abilities.
Our excellence model deals with this challenge too, and present a win win situation both for the employee (how to keep the job on the one hand and still develop and use the knowledge acquired during his study) for the organization (how to keep on board the best employees on the one hand and keep the organization be at the cutting edge of its professional field on the other ) and for the academia (how to make sure it can recruit good students year after year on the one hand and stay relevant for industry needs and developments for the long run on the other).