In an era of knowledge-based competition, technology transfer from university to firms is a key issue for the wealth of Nations and Regions. The creation of academic spin-off companies is one of the ways through which pursue such technology transfer process (TTP). Even if in Italy this form of TTP has become more and more popular in the last years (Netval, 2008), the gap with other EU countries remains large. In our opinion, the main problem lies in the lack of young researchers’ entrepreneurial commitment (Mises, 1949; Baumol, 1990) here understood as a complex of decisions and actions which bind the would be entrepreneur to the fate of his venture. In the first step of new venture creation, entrepreneurial commitment is a necessary ingredient to overcome the phase of assessment of the economic feasibility of a project and to be engaged actively, investing time and resources to create a spin-off company. According to Vohora et al.(2004) entrepreneurial commitment should be seen as a different concept from entrepreneurial intention which could be considered as the will of a person to start a new business. In the specific domain of academic spin-off, entrepreneurial intention therefore could be intended as the will of a person so far devoted to scientific research, to create a new venture based on the results of his research. In our opinion, entrepreneurial intention has a role in the make-up of entrepreneurial commitment but other ingredients have to be considered. Eventually, such ingredients may impede the formation of the entrepreneurial commitment or at least lead to a weak entrepreneurial commitment of the would be entrepreneur. The effects of a weak commitment have already been assessed by Sorrentino (2008) and Sanchez (2008) who recognize that a weak entrepreneurial commitment may delineate the boundary between the spin-off that die prematurely and those who continue on their development path. In this perspective, starting from the literature that conceptualizes the entrepreneurial commitment as the result of subjective factors (motivational drives, psychological factors, past experience) and factors characterizing the context in which the entrepreneur operates, the objective of the paper is to investigate elements that qualify Entrepreneurial intention (Bird, 1988) and those which play a predominant role in developing it in Entrepreneurial Commitment (Fini et al., 2008). From the point of view of the structure, the paper is divided into four sections over the introduction. The first section highlights, from various perspectives, the pros of spin-off initiatives. The second section analyze the nature of entrepreneurial opportunities that arise on the frontiers of scientific research and inherent characteristics of spin-offs. The third section is devoted instead to the analysis of main literature on the concepts of Entrepreneurial intent and commitment. The fourth section is then devoted to set up a research model and to show some preliminary results that come up from an empirical research that was conducted by the submission of a questionnaire to a group of PhD students. The aim of this preliminary research was that to assess the presence of an entrepreneurial intention in young researchers and factors that seems responsible of its transformation into a real entrepreneurial commitment.

The dynamic of formation of entrepreneurial commitment in academic spin-off

PARENTE, Roberto;FEOLA, ROSANGELA
2011

Abstract

In an era of knowledge-based competition, technology transfer from university to firms is a key issue for the wealth of Nations and Regions. The creation of academic spin-off companies is one of the ways through which pursue such technology transfer process (TTP). Even if in Italy this form of TTP has become more and more popular in the last years (Netval, 2008), the gap with other EU countries remains large. In our opinion, the main problem lies in the lack of young researchers’ entrepreneurial commitment (Mises, 1949; Baumol, 1990) here understood as a complex of decisions and actions which bind the would be entrepreneur to the fate of his venture. In the first step of new venture creation, entrepreneurial commitment is a necessary ingredient to overcome the phase of assessment of the economic feasibility of a project and to be engaged actively, investing time and resources to create a spin-off company. According to Vohora et al.(2004) entrepreneurial commitment should be seen as a different concept from entrepreneurial intention which could be considered as the will of a person to start a new business. In the specific domain of academic spin-off, entrepreneurial intention therefore could be intended as the will of a person so far devoted to scientific research, to create a new venture based on the results of his research. In our opinion, entrepreneurial intention has a role in the make-up of entrepreneurial commitment but other ingredients have to be considered. Eventually, such ingredients may impede the formation of the entrepreneurial commitment or at least lead to a weak entrepreneurial commitment of the would be entrepreneur. The effects of a weak commitment have already been assessed by Sorrentino (2008) and Sanchez (2008) who recognize that a weak entrepreneurial commitment may delineate the boundary between the spin-off that die prematurely and those who continue on their development path. In this perspective, starting from the literature that conceptualizes the entrepreneurial commitment as the result of subjective factors (motivational drives, psychological factors, past experience) and factors characterizing the context in which the entrepreneur operates, the objective of the paper is to investigate elements that qualify Entrepreneurial intention (Bird, 1988) and those which play a predominant role in developing it in Entrepreneurial Commitment (Fini et al., 2008). From the point of view of the structure, the paper is divided into four sections over the introduction. The first section highlights, from various perspectives, the pros of spin-off initiatives. The second section analyze the nature of entrepreneurial opportunities that arise on the frontiers of scientific research and inherent characteristics of spin-offs. The third section is devoted instead to the analysis of main literature on the concepts of Entrepreneurial intent and commitment. The fourth section is then devoted to set up a research model and to show some preliminary results that come up from an empirical research that was conducted by the submission of a questionnaire to a group of PhD students. The aim of this preliminary research was that to assess the presence of an entrepreneurial intention in young researchers and factors that seems responsible of its transformation into a real entrepreneurial commitment.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11386/4504060
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