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The realities of many public sector organisations today is characterised by uncertainty, complexity, interdependence, diversity, and instability. Under such conditions, managing accountability expectations utilising New Public Management (NPM) principles based on conditions of certainty about expected results have created tensions that remain largely unexplained in current literature. Using two exploratory case studies of universities engaged in commercialisation of research, this paper makes a useful contribution to this area by proposing that under conditions of uncertainty and complexity, institutionalized practices flourish as public institutions strive for greater legitimacy within their larger institutional environments to enhance reputation and compete for resources.
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