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Academics or entrepreneurs? Investigating role identity modification of university scientists involved in commercialization activity

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  • Jain, Sanjay
  • George, Gerard
  • Maltarich, Mark
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    Abstract

    Establishing the microfoundations of academic entrepreneurship requires closer scrutiny of a key actor contributing to this phenomenon--the university scientist. We investigate the sense-making that scientists engage in as part of their participation in technology transfer and postulate that this process involves a potential modification in their role identity. We analyzed more than 70Â h of interview data at a premier U.S. public research university. We observe that scientists invoke rationales for involvement that are congruent with their academic role identity. They typically adopt a hybrid role identity that comprises a focal academic self and a secondary commercial persona. We delineate two mechanisms - delegating and buffering - that these individuals deploy to facilitate such salience in their hybrid role identity. Overall, these patterns suggest that university scientists take active steps to preserve their academic role identity even as they participate in technology transfer. Our findings clarify the social psychological processes underlying scientist involvement in commercialization activity, and offer fresh insights to the academic entrepreneurship, science policy and role identity literatures.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V77-4W09GFK-1/2/f5f77c094dd1e93b708002e763d4a8a0
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 6 (July)
    Pages: 922-935

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:38:y:2009:i:6:p:922-935

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

    Related research

    Keywords: Academic entrepreneurship Role identity Identity work Technology transfer policy;

    References

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    1. Partha, Dasgupta & David, Paul A., 1994. "Toward a new economics of science," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 487-521, September.
    2. Louis, Karen Seashore, et al, 2001. " Entrepreneurship, Secrecy, and Productivity: A Comparison of Clinical and Non-clinical Life Sciences Faculty," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 233-45, June.
    3. Azoulay, Pierre & Ding, Waverly & Stuart, Toby, 2007. "The determinants of faculty patenting behavior: Demographics or opportunities?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 599-623, August.
    4. Dan Lovallo & Colin Camerer, 1999. "Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 306-318, March.
    5. Jerry G. Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2002. "Who Is Selling the Ivory Tower? Sources of Growth in University Licensing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 90-104, January.
    6. Ajay Agrawal & Rebecca Henderson, 2002. "Putting Patents in Context: Exploring Knowledge Transfer from MIT," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 44-60, January.
    7. Lockett, Andy & Siegel, Donald & Wright, Mike & Ensley, Michael D., 2005. "The creation of spin-off firms at public research institutions: Managerial and policy implications," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 981-993, September.
    8. Rosenberg, Nathan & Nelson, Richard R., 1994. "American universities and technical advance in industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 323-348, May.
    9. Murray, Fiona, 2002. "Innovation as co-evolution of scientific and technological networks: exploring tissue engineering," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8-9), pages 1389-1403, December.
    10. Pierre Azoulay & Waverly Ding & Toby Stuart, 2007. "The Determinants of Faculty Patenting Behavior: Demographics or Opportunities?," NBER Chapters, in: Academic Science and Entrepreneurship: Dual Engines of Growth National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Owen-Smith, Jason & Powell, Walter W, 2001. " To Patent or Not: Faculty Decisions and Institutional Success at Technology Transfer," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 26(1-2), pages 99-114, January.
    12. Smilor, Raymond W., 1997. "Entrepreneurship: Reflections on a subversive activity," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 12(5), pages 341-346, September.
    13. Scott Shane & Rakesh Khurana, 2003. "Bringing individuals back in: the effects of career experience on new firm founding," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 519-543, June.
    14. Nelson, Richard R, 2001. " Observations on the Post-Bayh-Dole Rise of Patenting at American Universities," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 26(1-2), pages 13-19, January.
    15. Phan, Phillip H. & Siegel, Donald S. & Wright, Mike, 2005. "Science parks and incubators: observations, synthesis and future research," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 165-182, March.
    16. Siegel, Donald S. & Waldman, David & Link, Albert, 2003. "Assessing the impact of organizational practices on the relative productivity of university technology transfer offices: an exploratory study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 27-48, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. De Fuentes, Claudia & Dutrénit, Gabriela, 2012. "Best channels of academia–industry interaction for long-term benefit," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(9), pages 1666-1682.
    2. repec:hal:wpaper:hal-00756228 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Perkmann, Markus & Tartari, Valentina & McKelvey, Maureen & Autio, Erkko & Broström, Anders & D’Este, Pablo & Fini, Riccardo & Geuna, Aldo & Grimaldi, Rosa & Hughes, Alan & Krabel, Stefan & Kitson,, 2013. "Academic engagement and commercialisation: A review of the literature on university–industry relations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 423-442.
    4. Vincent Mangematin & Paul O’Reilly & James Cunningham, 2014. "PIs as boundary spanners, science and market shapers," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 1-10, February.
    5. Grimaldi, Rosa & Kenney, Martin & Siegel, Donald S. & Wright, Mike, 2011. "30 years after Bayh-Dole: Reassessing academic entrepreneurship," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1045-1057, October.
    6. Lam, Alice, 2010. "What motivates academic scientists to engage in research commercialization: ‘gold’, ‘ribbon’ or ‘puzzle’?," MPRA Paper 30849, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Mark Dodgson & Jonathan Staggs, 2012. "Government policy, university strategy and the academic entrepreneur: the case of Queensland's Smart State Institutes," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(3), pages 567-585.
    8. Manuel Crespo & Houssine Dridi & Marie Lecomte, 2013. "Vocationalization in the research intensive university," CIRANO Working Papers 2013s-16, CIRANO.
    9. Daniela Baglieri & Gianni Lorenzoni, 2014. "Closing the distance between academia and market: experimentation and user entrepreneurial processes," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 52-74, February.
    10. Anne Casati & Corine Genet, 2014. "Principal investigators as scientific entrepreneurs," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 11-32, February.
    11. König, Andreas & Schulte, Martin & Enders, Albrecht, 2012. "Inertia in response to non-paradigmatic change: The case of meta-organizations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1325-1343.
    12. Ding, Waverly & Choi, Emily, 2011. "Divergent paths to commercial science: A comparison of scientists' founding and advising activities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 69-80, February.
    13. Haeussler, Carolin, 2011. "Information-sharing in academia and the industry: A comparative study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 105-122, February.
    14. repec:hal:gemwpa:hal-00756228 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Einar Rasmussen & Paul Benneworth & Magnus Gulbrandsen, 2013. "Scoping paper: Developing University Innovation Capacity: How can innovation policy effectively harness universities’ capability to promote high-growth technology businesses?," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20131007, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
    16. D’Este,Pablo & Llopis,Oscar & Yegros,Alfredo, 2013. "Conducting pro-social research: cognitive diversity, research excellence and awareness about the social impact of research," INGENIO (CSIC-UPV) Working Paper Series 201303, INGENIO (CSIC-UPV).
    17. Andrea Bonaccorsi & Luca Secondi & Enza Setteducati & Alessio Ancaiani, 2014. "Participation and commitment in third-party research funding: evidence from Italian Universities," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 169-198, April.
    18. Glenna, Leland L. & Welsh, Rick & Ervin, David & Lacy, William B. & Biscotti, Dina, 2011. "Commercial science, scientists' values, and university biotechnology research agendas," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 957-968, September.
    19. Abreu, Maria & Grinevich, Vadim, 2013. "The nature of academic entrepreneurship in the UK: Widening the focus on entrepreneurial activities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 408-422.
    20. James Cunningham & Paul O’Reilly & Conor O’Kane & Vincent Mangematin, 2014. "The inhibiting factors that principal investigators experience in leading publicly funded research," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 93-110, February.
    21. Yuan-Cheih Chang & Phil Yihsing Yang & Tung-Fei Tsai-Lin & Hui-Ru Chi, 2011. "How University Departmens respond to the Rise of Academic Entrepreneurship? The Pasteur's Quadrant Explanation," DRUID Working Papers 11-07, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.

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