مفهوم سازی اهداف کارآفرینی آکادمیک: آزمون تجربی
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Volume 30, Issues 5–6, May–June 2010, Pages 332–347
Policy makers are increasingly recognizing the catalytic role of academics’ spin-off companies in a national economy, which derives from their innovativeness that result in new value generation, and job creation. Although research on academics’ spin-off companies has been increasing, knowledge gaps exist as to the specific determinants and processes that characterize the emergence of academics’ entrepreneurial intentions that lead them to spin off companies. This research aims to fill this gap. Drawing from psychological and entrepreneurship research on intentionality, the authors propose a conceptual model of academics’ entrepreneurial intentions. They empirically test the model using structural equation modeling and a robust data set collected in two European academic settings to guide future research on this important topic.
Academic spin-offs have been shown as an important means of transferring technology from academia. Prior research in academic spin-offs has focused predominantly on the contribution of spin-offs to the national economy at large; little attention has been directed to the nature of the processes that lead to their emergence. The following catalytic roles, among others, have been attributed to academic spin-offs: boosting economic activity (Di Gregorio and Shane, 2003; Nicolaou and Birley, 2003a; Roberts and Malone, 1996), generating new jobs (Perez Perez and Sanchez, 2003; Steffensen et al., 2000; Walter et al., 2006), creating new wealth (Perez Perez and Sanchez, 2003; Roberts and Malone, 1996; Steffensen et al., 2000; Walter et al., 2006), providing a strong tie between industry and science (Debackere and Veugelers, 2005), contributing to regional economic development (Mian, 1997; Nicolaou and Birley, 2003a), and helping introduce new commercial products to the marketplace (Pressman and AUTM Survey Statistics and Metrics Committee, 2002). To illustrate the importance of such companies, Carayannis et al. (1998) quote a Bank of Boston survey (BankBoston, 1997) that observed that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had spun off approximately 4000 companies, employing 1.1 million people and generating annual worldwide sales of US$ 232 billion. Furthermore, Mustar (1997) reported that 200 French academic spin-offs have created 3500 jobs. Policy makers in many developed countries have also responded to the importance of academic spin-offs by erecting infrastructures intended to facilitate the commercialization of scientific research output (Goldfarb and Henrekson, 2003). Probably the most important gap in the literature on academic spin-offs concerns robust empirical studies of spin-off processes and characteristics. In specifics, the review of the literature reveals a lack of empirical evidence that investigates this important phenomenon at the individual level; that is, how academics’ entrepreneurial intentions, which are key to the creation of spin-off companies, emerge. This research proposes a theoretical model of academic-entrepreneurial intentions to gain insight into the determinants of academic-entrepreneurial intentions, and perform its empirical test. Entrepreneurial intentions have been in entrepreneurship research shown as the most viable precursor of entrepreneurial behavior that results in business incorporation. Measuring entrepreneurial intentions among academics provides an assessment of expected dynamics in emergence of firms with high growth potential given the research and technological environment that incubates gestation of such start-ups. We use cross-national empirical data from academics employed in the technical departments of two major universities in the United Kingdom and Slovenia. The paper is structured as follows. We first review prior literature on intentionality and its determinants, and then present entrepreneurial intentions model grounded in social cognitive theory and hypotheses. We then describe our research setting and methods, as well as the results of our hypotheses testing. The paper concludes with discussion, implications, limitations and future research opportunities.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
5.1. Discussion and implications In this research, we aimed to develop a conceptual model of the formation of entrepreneurial intentions in academic settings at technical universities and to empirically test the model across cultures to better understand drivers of academic spin-off companies. The proposed conceptual framework integrates evidence on entrepreneurial intentions formation and planned behavior in psychology and entrepreneurship, facilitates the examination of outstanding questions about the emergence of spin-off companies, and invites empirical testing across cultures and research environments. Overall, results of the empirical test indicate that entrepreneurial self-efficacy, type of research, perceived role models, number of years spent at an academic institution, and patents are significantly related to the formation of academic-entrepreneurial intentions, regardless of cultural context. The results of the multisample test are similar across the two universities, which validates our model’s robustness and applicability to further empirical testing. The results revealed that entrepreneurial self-efficacy had the highest path coefficient among all predictors of academics’ entrepreneurial intentions in both universities. This result is congruent with prior findings (e.g. Ozgen and Baron, 2007; Zhao et al., 2005) that entrepreneurial self-efficacy is the most important predictor of entrepreneurial intentions. The entrepreneurial self-efficacy construct also mediated effects of personal networks on the formation of entrepreneurial intentions. Although entrepreneurship education may contribute to an individual’s higher entrepreneurial self-efficacy, until now, entrepreneurship courses and seminars for academics at technical faculties or departments have been rare. This indicates that academic institutions have not sufficiently considered this important aspect of technology transfer from academia to new firms. Therefore, drawing from our research results, we suggest that entrepreneurial cultures at universities be enhanced by introducing entrepreneurship courses and seminars specifically tailored to the needs of doctoral students and senior researchers at technical faculties or departments. Our research results are congruent with Gilsing et al. (2010), who emphasized the importance of the presence of an ‘entrepreneurial climate’ at the university. Research results shows that, environments conducive to the emergence of spin-off companies can be further strengthened by introducing different events (e.g., presentations of success stories, entrepreneurial workshops) on a regular basis to facilitate networking among academics with and without business experience, and most important to practitioners. Networking and personal networks are a significant predictor of entrepreneurial intentions. Greater numbers of years spent at an academic institution hinder the formation of academic-entrepreneurial intentions. Because tenured professorships guarantee academics’ basic socioeconomic status, they are less motivated to endanger their research by redirecting interest and energy to business matters. To overcome this problem, entrepreneurial academic institutions should allow a leave of absence for more than 1 year for academics who are starting their own company based on academic research so that they can primarily focus on one activity. Although we hypothesized that the extent of industry cooperation was positively related to academic-entrepreneurial intentions, the study revealed that there is no direct, significant influence of industry cooperation on entrepreneurial intentions. However, industry cooperation is related to academic-entrepreneurial intentions through type of research and patents. Moreover, we found that type of research and patents are two important predictors of academic-entrepreneurial intentions. Therefore, academic institutions should actively promote cooperation between academics and industry, and the institutions should place greater importance on an individual’s number of granted patents in the habilitation process. To summarize, we believe that universities should take steps to promote entrepreneurial activity in their environments. Indeed, our research findings indicate that there are measures that universities can undertake in order to facilitate venture creation process in their environments. First, since stronger entrepreneurial self-efficacy consecutively leads to higher entrepreneurial intentions of an individual and since entrepreneurial self-efficacy can be enhanced through entrepreneurship education, we suggest that universities introduce entrepreneurship courses and seminars specifically tailored to the needs of doctoral students and senior researchers. Second, since networking and personal networks are a significant predictor of academic-entrepreneurial intentions, we propose to introduce different networking events, such as presentations of success stories and entrepreneurial workshops. In addition, academic institutions should allow a leave of absence for academics that are starting their own company based on academic research, actively promote cooperation between academics and industry, and place greater importance on an individual’s number of granted patents in the habilitation process. 5.2. Limitations and future research opportunities As with any research, several limitations should be noted. First, the model tested in this study includes variables that are, according to prior literature, the most probable determinants of intentions. There are other important variables that could be considered for inclusion, but this would make empirical examination less feasible. Second, despite the fact that we conducted this study in two different European countries, there are specific cultural determinants that may affect the results. To enhance the model’s robustness, it would be interesting to compare the findings of this research to findings based on samples from the United States, which is the heart of academic entrepreneurship, and to findings based on samples from China, the largest developing country in the world. Third, it would also be interesting to identify reasons that lead to nuanced differences between the University of Cambridge and the University of Ljubljana. Fourth, because the research sample included only academics employed at technical faculties or departments, research findings cannot be generalized to academics from all research areas. Future research in academic-entrepreneurial intentions should consider the extent to which the findings of this study apply to academics from other research areas (e.g., life sciences, social, and behavioral sciences). Fifth, although the theory suggested the hypothesized causal directions, the cross-sectional nature of this study cannot prove causation but can only support a set of hypothesized paths (Kline, 2005). Therefore, we cannot eliminate the possibility of reverse causality. As Kline (2005) noted, to eliminate the possibility of reverse causality, longitudinal research is needed to determine the direction of causality of the relationships and to detect possible reciprocal causation. A longitudinal study could also reveal how many academics who have entrepreneurial intentions indeed became entrepreneurs after a few years. Sixth, this study used single-item measures for some of the independent variables (number of years spent at the academic institution and perceived role models). Although it is important to limit the number of items that respondents are asked to complete, we suggest that the future studies employ the multiple-item measures for these constructs and thus reduce the measurement error.