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Scientists’ transition to academic entrepreneurship: Economic and psychological determinants

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  • Goethner, Maximilian
  • Obschonka, Martin
  • Silbereisen, Rainer K.
  • Cantner, Uwe

Abstract

This study investigated academic scientists’ transition to entrepreneurship by studying their academic entrepreneurial intentions (to found a business in order to market their research knowledge) and actual founding behavior. We developed and tested a conceptual model integrating both economic and psychological perspectives. Applying the theory of planned behavior, we examined the economic factors (scientists’ human capital, social capital, expected entrepreneurial benefits) as distal predictors (background factors) of academic entrepreneurial intentions. The psychological factors (entrepreneurial attitudes, norms, control perceptions) were examined as proximal intention predictors. Findings were derived from a path analysis utilizing archival and survey data on German scientists (N=496). We found that attitudes and perceived control predicted entrepreneurial intentions. Social norms in turn had no effect. As regards the economic factors, human and social capital exhibited indirect effects on intentions via entrepreneurial attitudes and control perceptions, while additional direct effects of both capitals showed up significantly as well. Expected benefits from engaging in academic entrepreneurship (i.e., expected financial and reputational gain) only showed indirect effects on intentions via attitudes and perceived control. In addition, longitudinal results indicated that entrepreneurial intentions indeed forecasted entrepreneurial behavior, while certain barriers have a diminishing influence on this relationship. Our results are discussed with an emphasis on the long-neglected importance of the interplay of economic and psychological determinants for scientists’ transition to academic entrepreneurship.

Suggested Citation

  • Goethner, Maximilian & Obschonka, Martin & Silbereisen, Rainer K. & Cantner, Uwe, 2012. "Scientists’ transition to academic entrepreneurship: Economic and psychological determinants," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 628-641.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:3:p:628-641 DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2011.12.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Academic entrepreneurship; Entrepreneurial intentions; Human capital; Social capital; Occupational choice; Theory of planned behavior;

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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