Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Edited by David Smallbone, João Leitão, Mário Raposo and Friederike Welter
Chapter 2: The Entrepreneurial Climate at Universities: The Impact of Organizational Factors
Mario Geissler, Steffen Jahn and Peter Haefner INTRODUCTION The transfer of (technological) knowledge from universities to the marketplace has received increasing attention during the last decades due to its positive effects on social and economic development, regional development, the diffusion of technological innovations and university revenue (Degroof and Roberts 2004; Friedman and Silberman 2003; Mansfield 1991; Niosi 2006; Varga 1999). Overall, knowledge transfer can take various forms, for example, patenting, licensing, research contracts or academic spin-offs. Academic entrepreneurship, in terms of companies specifically created to exploit technological knowledge originated within universities (Grandi and Grimaldi 2005), is one way to facilitate this transfer and to establish new enterprises with innovative knowledge and technologies as their key strategic resource and competitive advantage. Furthermore, spin-offs are probably the most visible form of the commercialization of university research (Landry et al. 2006). In this respect, specific tools have been introduced in order to foster venture creation (for example, incubators, science parks, departments of entrepreneurship, technology transfer offices, funding programs). However, these tools primarily target persons at a more advanced venture creation stage. In contrast, little attention has been paid to the question of how different groups of university members (that is, faculty members, students) perceive these structural elements and how those perceptions influence their view on entrepreneurship at their institution. Hence, a more holistic approach is needed which is able to capture the full entrepreneurial potential at universities, enabling an even more effective technology transfer process. We provide a framework that links different organizational...
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