Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Friederike Welter, Robert Blackburn, Elisabet Ljunggren and Bjørn Willy Åmo
Chapter 6: A dynamic capability view on the determinants of superior performance in university technology transfer offices
In addition to the more traditional mandates of teaching and research, universities have recently amplified their missions to become increasingly entrepreneurial (Siegel 2006). Academic entrepreneurship encompasses all the activities through which universities fulfil their ‘third mission’ (economic development): patenting, licensing, creating spin-offs, invest- ing equity in start-ups, creating technology transfer offices (TTOs), incubators and science parks (Rothaermel et al. 2007). Within the broad field of university entrepreneurship, the analysis of the commercialization processes by technology transfer offices, usually the formal gateway between university and industry, focuses on the different mechanisms through which academic research and intellectual property (IP) is capi- talized and commercially exploited. The topic of TTO productivity has been quite largely studied (Rothaermel et al. 2007). Prior research, in the attempt to identify the key determinants of technology transfer (TT) success, has mainly focused on the characteristics of inventions, such as patent protection and scope (e.g., Nerkar and Shane 2007; Shane 2002). Studies such as Hsu and Bernstein (1997), Chapple et al. (2005) and Thursby and Thursby (2002), however, have shown that the value of technologies is a not sufficient driver of TT success, as many worthy IP rights remain unlicensed. Indeed, due to high transaction costs character- izing the markets for technologies (Gambardella et al. 2007), only a minority of university inventions are transferred to the industry (Di Gregorio and Shane 2003). There is indeed a need to expand the search for performance deter- minants to other classes of factors (Rothaermel et al. 2007).
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