تاثیر قابلیت های شبکه و جهت گیری کارآفرینانه بر عملکرد اسپین آف دانشگاه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|9621||2006||27 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Venturing, Volume 21, Issue 4, July 2006, Pages 541–567
Drawing on a database of 149 university spin-offs, we investigated the impact of network capability (NC), defined as a firm's ability to develop and utilize inter-organizational relationships, and entrepreneurial orientation (EO) on organizational performance. Not only do the results suggest that a spin-off's performance is positively influenced by its NC, but the findings also indicate that a spin-off's EO fosters competitive advantages. Although no direct relationship is apparent between EO and sales growth, sales per employee, or profit attainment, moderated hierarchical regression analyses reveal that NC strengthens the relationship between EO and spin-off performance. In sum, our research shows that a spin-off's organizational propensities and processes that enhance innovation, constructive risk taking, and proactiveness in dealing with competitors per se do not enhance growth and secure long-term survival. However, we found that NC moderates the relationship between EO and organizational performance.
University spin-offs can be seen from different perspectives: as sources of employment (Pérez and Sánchez, 2003; Roberts, 1991a), as mediators between basic and applied research that enable their customers to compete on the technological forefront (Autio, 1997), as contributors to higher innovation efficiency (Rothwell and Dodgson, 1993) and to a regions' economic development (Mian, 1997), or as change agents of the economic landscape moving traditional boundaries between basic and applied research (Abramson et al., 1997 and Roberts, 1991b). Spin-offs are confronted with a number of serious obstacles. Academic firms struggle to establish close links to customers and suppliers after their spinout (e.g., Pérez and Sánchez, 2003; Stuart et al., 1999), and failure rates of alliances and collaborative agreements can reach 70% (Duysters et al., 1999 and Park and Ungson, 2001). Academic interest has recently focused on the ability of firm characteristics to explain differences in alliance success. Such characteristics include alliance capability (Kale et al., 2000), relational capability (Lorenzoni and Lipparini, 1999), and network capability (Anand and Khanna, 2000). Although a number of studies have examined the relational capabilities of firms, no study has focused explicitly on a university spin-off's ability to manage business networks. This paper closes this gap by focusing on spin-offs' capabilities to develop, maintain and use business relationships and strategic alliances. Entrepreneurial aspects such as opportunity identification, risk taking, and resource mobilization have been highlighted as critical success factors for academic spin-offs (Roberts, 1991a and Steffensen et al., 1999), where entrepreneurial behavior is believed to stimulate growth and economic performance. Entrepreneurship is regarded as crucial to bridging gaps between the research and business worlds (Abramson et al., 1997). Based on that assumption, representatives of industry, government and science increasingly challenge academics to transfer their research results to companies in an entrepreneurial fashion (Doutriaux, 1987 and Franklin et al., 2001). However, few empirical studies have analyzed the impact of a spin-off's entrepreneurial characteristics on its performance. Case studies of academic spin-offs conducted by Bray and Lee (2000), Pérez and Sánchez (2003), and Steffensen et al. (1999) provide some evidence that a match of entrepreneurial ambitions and marketing abilities characterizes successful spin-offs. However, no study has focused specifically on the relationship between a university spin-off's network capability and entrepreneurial behavior. Entrepreneurship is often said to exist in a firm that “engages in product market innovation, undertakes somewhat risky ventures and is first to come up with ‘proactive’ innovations, beating competitors to the punch” (Miller, 1983, p. 771). Prior theory and research acknowledge entrepreneurial orientation as an important constituent for organizational success (Lumpkin and Dess, 1996). Many authors argue that entrepreneurial behavior is vital for firms of all sizes to prosper in competitive environments (Covin and Slevin, 1988, Lumpkin and Dess, 1996, Miller, 1983 and Zahra, 1993a). However, empirical studies indicate that the relationship between a firm's entrepreneurial orientation and desired organizational outcomes, like sales growth and profitability, is not as straightforward as often assumed (e.g., Covin and Slevin, 1990 and Dess et al., 1997). Obviously, an entrepreneurial orientation per se is not necessarily desirable in all situations (Covin and Slevin, 1988). The success of entrepreneurial orientation may be affected by the firm's organization structure, corporate culture, and/or environmental dynamism. Many entrepreneurship studies postulate a strong EO–performance relationship, especially in hostile and/or technologically sophisticated environments (e.g., Naman and Slevin, 1993 and Covin and Slevin, 1998). Such environments can be assumed for university spin-offs and, therefore, we assume that EO is important to the growth and profitability of academic spin-offs. The commercialization of new technologies is usually characterized by intense innovative competition (Shan, 1990). In several cases, spin-offs have to develop their own markets because they are offering a unique product or service addressing the needs of only a few customers (Olofsson and Wahlbin, 1984, Pérez and Sánchez, 2003 and Rodenberger and McCray, 1981). As such, spin-offs challenge existing markets and technological standards, try to gain other firms' customers and, thus, attack fortified hills. Therefore, spin-offs very often undertake an entrepreneurial behavior outlined by Schumpeter (1934) as “creative destruction.” At the same time, exploitive behavior is not necessarily a common characteristic of university scientists starting or leading a venture (Van Dierdonck and Debackere, 1988). In addition, academic spin-offs are frequently monitored by potential competitors, firms that may be capable of imitating products and/or services quickly on a large scale—or simply acquire the firm. Thus, we believe that entrepreneurial orientation is a crucial characteristic of university spin-offs. This paper addresses this question and investigates relationship between entrepreneurial orientation and performance in university spin-offs. The paper also examines the moderating effect of network capabilities on the entrepreneurial orientation–performance relationship. Entrepreneurship scholars have emphasized the need to go beyond the investigation of bivariate correlations between entrepreneurship and performance variables (Covin and Slevin, 1991 and Lumpkin and Dess, 1996) to reduce misleading inferences about the entrepreneurship–performance relationship. Therefore, a contingency model for examining the alignment among the key constructs is developed. In relation to our research question – the impact of NC and EO on performance – we argue that the analysis of university spin-offs contributes to an understanding of this matter because (1) a great variety of degrees of NC and EO among university spin-offs can be assumed, and (2) the impact of NC and EO should be high given the market conditions in which these firms are operating. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows: after the development of hypotheses, our ideas are tested on a sample of spin-offs from higher education institutions before the implications of our study are discussed.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study examines how NC and EO affect the organizational performance of university spin-offs. NC is the organization's ability to develop, use, and maintain relationships with external partners, including customers, suppliers, and research institutions. A spin-off's EO refers to self-direction in pursuing opportunities, proactivity in attaining competitive advantages, risk taking in projects, innovativeness in developing products and services, and assertiveness in promoting the spin-off. 5.1. NC and spin-off performance Our study shows that the performance variables (growth in sales, sales per employee, profit attainment, perceived CRQ, realized competitive advantages, and long-term survival) are influenced by a spin-off's NC. The results confirm prior studies on alliance competence showing that firms vary considerably in their capabilities to gain access to external resources and to develop stable relationships (Dyer and Singh, 1998). These variations lead to differences in organizational performance. The results of this research offer two theoretical contributions. First, they support the recent arguments of entrepreneurship scholars regarding the importance of networks for spin-off success (Hoang and Antoncic, 2003). Second, as we have analyzed the ability of networking and not only the existence of a network, we contribute with an insight motivated from the capability-based view of the firm, highlighting that university spin-offs perform better as their network capability increases. 5.2. EO and spin-off performance In the present study, EO was not found to have a direct effect on sales growth, sales per employee, or profit attainment. This confirms the results of Covin and Slevin, 1988 and Covin and Slevin, 1990 and Dess et al. (1997), suggesting that EO does not always lead to growth and profitability. We can conclude that the existence of EO per se does not promote financial growth and long-term survival of a spin-off. These results support the general notion that the EO–performance relationship depends on the context in which it occurs. For these reasons, “entrepreneurial activities should not be regarded as panacea for improving organizational performance” (Covin and Slevin, 1988, p. 229). However, we found that EO has a highly significant direct effect on the realization of competitive advantages. Obviously, university spin-offs may use EO as an effective means to strive for competitive advantages. The moderately significant effect of EO on the perceived CRQ signals that EO can preserve a spin-off's existence, attract customers, and improve the organization's reputation as a competent technology provider. As such, EO contributes to the relational capital (Kale et al., 2000) of the firms, which may be seen as an investment in a market position. These findings support the notion of Zahra (1993b) that, in addition to growth and profitability, entrepreneurial behavior may produce worthwhile, non-financial contributions or by-products. 5.3. Moderating effect of NC on the EO–performance relationship Pursuing an EO is a resource-consuming process (Dess et al., 1997). Covin and Slevin (1991) have argued that an organization's entrepreneurial capacity will be limited by its available resources and capabilities. In the present study, the moderating role of NC is shown. Comparing the reduced model to the full model and its associated interaction term clearly reveals that NC moderates the relationship between EO and spin-off performance. We found that the two variables have a significant interaction effect on growth in sales, sales per employee, profit attainment, realized competitive advantages, and securing long-term survival. Thus, NC strengthens the relationship between EO and spin-off performance. For example, academic spin-offs with access to the scientific knowledge of other research institutions, and information on customer needs and preferences may possess better preconditions to develop and launch new products and services successfully. Our findings support the general notion that entrepreneurial ambitions should be based on capabilities that advance opportunity seeking and accelerate the introduction of new products and services (Covin and Slevin, 1991). Due to their small size, weak market recognition, lack of reputation, and the innovativeness of their products, spin-offs are dependent on the development of good working relationships while aggressively entering new markets and trying to identify customer needs to which they can apply their technologies. Access to (initial) customers is particularly important and, as such, spin-offs may build relationships with partners that commercialize their technologies. Such a strategy may hasten adaptation and, thereby, create a higher innovation rent, even though the gains need to be shared between the partners. Direct interactions with customers are not only beneficial for spin-offs. Customers that gain access to and an understanding of state-of-the-art technology may use this advantage for their own competitive situation in their markets. These results have important implications for the management of university spin-offs. Firms should note that an entrepreneurial orientation in and of itself is not enough to compete in today's markets. EO is an entrance ticket that allows for higher impacts of competencies on performance. However, entrepreneurial ambitions alone do not create value and should not be seen as the fundamental force for the sustainable prosperity and growth of spin-offs. This also means that the demand for more entrepreneurial academics expressed by politicians should be revisited and potentially enriched. Our findings suggest that successful university spin-offs are not only entrepreneurial but also continually networking. We suggest that firms develop their network capability and their networks as a means to improve performance. One possibility is to work with experienced and well-known business people. Some governmental agencies and venture capitalists run mentor programs that aim to develop networks. Another issue is to make resources for networking available and to empower and encourage persons to develop relationships with external partners. Without the whole-hearted commitment of a person carrying out relationship management responsibilities (Clarysse and Moray, 2004), a stable network of crucial venture partners is unlikely to occur. Universities which want to promote spin-offs should also think of ways to support networking for their academics. Networks are of catalytic importance in the creation of university spinouts (Nicolaou and Birley, 2003b). Our results may also be informative for firms other than spin-offs. First, venture capitalists and other investors can be advised to analyze not only the technological capabilities and entrepreneurial orientation of spin-offs, but also their network capability before making an investment decision. As our results show, network capability has a key influence on a wide variety of performance measures and, as such, should be more seriously considered. Second, despite the specific characteristics of university spin-offs (as referred to in the Introduction), these spin-offs have some similarity with other high-tech spin-offs, such as spin-offs from large firms. These spin-offs are normally also technology driven, small, have a high business risk, and aim to produce innovative products. These results may be applicable for these firms, although an empirical test of this proposition could be an interesting topic for further research. Third, firms working with university spin-offs should look for spin-offs with a high network capability, not only in order to establish a better relationship between a given partner and the spin-off, but also to better predict the long-term survival of the spin-off. For the partner, the development of a relationship with a spin-off becomes a sunk cost when the spin-off goes out of business. As such, it is in the best interest of the partner to find business opportunities with a high likelihood of success, i.e., a university spin-off with high entrepreneurial orientation and network capability. 5.4. Limitations Although the study provides some interesting findings, several limitations should be noted. Previous investigations paid attention to the variables of relationships strategy and entrepreneurship, structure and entrepreneurship, and environment and entrepreneurship, or to more complex configurations of these variables (e.g., Covin and Slevin, 1988, Covin and Slevin, 1990, Dess et al., 1997, Naman and Slevin, 1993 and Zahra, 1993a). An examination of how strategy, structure, or environment moderates the EO–performance relationship of spin-offs would be useful, as would an examination of the NC–performance relationship in different environments. These aspects are not addressed by the present study. Our study used a single key informant approach, which is a common practice in entrepreneurial research. Kumar et al. (1993) have suggested that choosing the appropriate key informant could alleviate some of the potential problems. We have chosen the academic founders of spin-offs as key informants, people we assume are well informed about their own organization. However, the debate on whether multiple responses from an organization are necessary to ensure the validity of results, such as those of this study, continues (Phillips, 1981). Nevertheless, the use of multiple informants (e.g., Dess et al., 1997 and Zahra, 1993a) is a more rigorous data collection procedure. To some extent, we have minimized the common source bias by collecting accounting data from a second person. As the results of that measure are not significantly different from our other measures, we assume that common source bias is not a major issue in this study. Our cross-sectional data do not allow causal inferences about the longitudinal interplay between EO, NC, and spin-off performance. EO and NC were considered as antecedents of firm performance. However, the opposite relationships cannot be dismissed, as the interplay between these variables is dynamic in nature. For example, gaining financial revenues and building customer trust and satisfaction may enable companies to enhance their organizational learning and flexibility. 5.5. Further research questions University spin-offs have a unique set of parameters, including the fact that they are often technology driven and may involve part-time business people. Despite the fact that our results are limited to that area, the presented empirical data also inform our general understanding of spin-off success. As indicated in the Introduction, empirical results on the entrepreneurial orientation–performance relationship have produced contradicting evidence. In this paper, we offer a potential explanation which could be further evaluated with other spin-offs. Other moderating effects, such as market and technology dynamics, may also be interesting subjects of investigation. Additional avenues for further research based on the present results include the development process of NC. The establishment of NC as early as possible in the spin-off's development seems important in terms of enabling performance. Are there measures which can ensure this capability even before the spin-off is established? How can NC be built up quickly after foundation? The interplay between EO and NC should also be analyzed. While EO may foster NC through an acceptance of risk and a commitment to innovation, the opposite is also possible. NC and inputs from the network may trigger EO by providing information on market opportunities and demands for innovations. In the future, we might see more and more entrepreneurial networks of firms, where the firms along the value chain challenge themselves for further innovation. Spin-offs could be particularly vital for inspiring such networks, while also obtaining ideas and support from their partners for innovative products.