Why some research insights find their way to market and some do not. The relevance of social capital for academic entrepreneurship.

by Constanze Stockhammer

Institution: Vienna University of Economics and Business
Year: 2009
Keywords: RVK QP 230, QP 210; technology transfer / spin-off entrepreneurship / social capital / social networks / commercialisation of research / entrepreneurial university
Record ID: 1031779
Full text PDF: http://epub.wu.ac.at/1880/1/document.pdf


In today's knowledge-based society academic spin-offs are considered as one important form of technology transfer. However, most related entrepreneurial efforts fail. When looking at determining factors, researchers have to be regarded as members of a complex social network consisting not only of academic peers but also of participants from industry, policy, and supporting institutions, and friends and family members. This network is the academic entrepreneur's general framework of operation characterized by resource and communication flows of differing nature. The thesis tries to answer the question under what conditions technological spin-offs emerge from the academic community with special emphasis on the entrepreneurs' social capital expressed in terms of their social networks. Thus, a detailed analysis of the characteristics of the social network academic entrepreneurs operate in at the different stages of the spin-off process is effected. By means of social network analysis effected by a survey among Austrian academic entrepreneurs, it is examined which network structures favor the recognition of entrepreneurial opportunities and their realization in the form of a spin-off company. Thus generated insights are intended to contribute to nascent academic entrepreneurs' awareness how to optimally use their social contacts and networks in setting up their new ventures. Moreover, the work intends to provide valuable insights for political decision-makers as to the provision of necessary framework conditions supporting respective social dynamics required for the creation of innovative knowledge- und technology-intensive companies in Austria. (author's abstract)