IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

What motivates academic scientists to engage in research commercialization: ‘Gold’, ‘ribbon’ or ‘puzzle’?

  • Lam, Alice

This paper employs the three concepts of ‘gold’ (financial rewards), ‘ribbon’ (reputational/career rewards) and ‘puzzle’ (intrinsic satisfaction) to examine the extrinsic and intrinsic aspects of scientists’ motivation for pursuing commercial activities. The study is based on 36 individual interviews and an on-line questionnaire survey of 735 scientists from five major UK research universities. It finds that there is a diversity of motivations for commercial engagement, and that many do so for reputational and intrinsic reasons and that financial rewards play a relatively small part. The paper draws on self-determination theory in social psychology to analyse the relationship between scientists’ value orientations with regard to commercial engagement and their personal motivations. It finds that those with traditional beliefs about the separation of science from commerce are more likely to be extrinsically motivated, using commercialization as a means to obtain resources to support their quest for the ‘ribbon’. In contrast, those identify closely with entrepreneurial norms are intrinsically motivated by the autonomy and ‘puzzle-solving’ involved in applied commercial research while also motivated by the ‘gold’. The study highlights the primacy of scientists’ self-motivation, and suggests that a fuller explanation of their commercial behaviour will need to consider a broader mix of motives to include the social and affective aspects of intrinsic motivation. In conclusion, the paper argues that policy to encourage commercial engagement should build on reputational and intrinsic rather than purely financial motivations.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733311001703
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

Volume (Year): 40 (2011)
Issue (Month): 10 ()
Pages: 1354-1368

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:40:y:2011:i:10:p:1354-1368
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Owen-Smith, Jason, 2003. "From separate systems to a hybrid order: accumulative advantage across public and private science at Research One universities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1081-1104, June.
  2. Shinn, Terry & Lamy, Erwan, 2006. "Paths of commercial knowledge: Forms and consequences of university-enterprise synergy in scientist-sponsored firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1465-1476, December.
  3. Gideon D. Markman & Peter T. Gianiodis & Phillip H. Phan & David B. Balkin, 2004. "Entrepreneurship from the Ivory Tower: Do Incentive Systems Matter?," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 29(3_4), pages 353-364, 08.
  4. 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.
  5. Thursby, Jerry G & Jensen, Richard & Thursby, Marie C, 2001. " Objectives, Characteristics and Outcomes of University Licensing: A Survey of Major U.S. Universities," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 26(1-2), pages 59-72, January.
  6. Meyer-Krahmer, Frieder & Schmoch, Ulrich, 1998. "Science-based technologies: university-industry interactions in four fields," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 835-851, December.
  7. Tina C. Ambos & Kristiina Mäkelä & Julian Birkinshaw & Pablo D'Este, 2008. "When Does University Research Get Commercialized? Creating Ambidexterity in Research Institutions," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(8), pages 1424-1447, December.
  8. Stephan, Paula E & Everhart, Stephen S, 1998. " The Changing Rewards to Science: The Case of Biotechnology," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 141-51, March.
  9. Di Gregorio, Dante & Shane, Scott, 2003. "Why do some universities generate more start-ups than others?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 209-227, February.
  10. Catherine Renault, 2006. "Academic Capitalism and University Incentives for Faculty Entrepreneurship," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 227-239, 03.
  11. Jeannette Colyvas & Michael Crow & Annetine Gelijns & Roberto Mazzoleni & Richard R. Nelson & Nathan Rosenberg & Bhaven N. Sampat, 2002. "How Do University Inventions Get Into Practice?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 61-72, January.
  12. Alice Lam, 2007. "Knowledge Networks and Careers: Academic Scientists in Industry-University Links," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(6), pages 993-1016, 09.
  13. Fiona Murray & Leigh Graham, 2007. "Buying science and selling science: gender differences in the market for commercial science," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 657-689, August.
  14. Devrim Göktepe-Hulten & Prashanth Mahagaonkar, 2010. "Inventing and patenting activities of scientists: in the expectation of money or reputation?," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 35(4), pages 401-423, August.
  15. Donald S. Siegel & Mike Wright & Andy Lockett, 2007. "The rise of entrepreneurial activity at universities: organizational and societal implications," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 489-504, August.
  16. Paula E. Stephan, 1996. "The Economics of Science," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1199-1235, September.
  17. Saul Lach & Mark Schankerman, 2008. "Incentives and invention in universities," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 403-433.
  18. Krabel, Stefan & Mueller, Pamela, 2009. "What drives scientists to start their own company?: An empirical investigation of Max Planck Society scientists," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 947-956, July.
  19. 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.
  20. Gideon D. Markman & Donald S. Siegel & Mike Wright, 2008. "Research and Technology Commercialization," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(8), pages 1401-1423, December.
  21. Jain, Sanjay & George, Gerard & Maltarich, Mark, 2009. "Academics or entrepreneurs? Investigating role identity modification of university scientists involved in commercialization activity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 922-935, July.
  22. Etzkowitz, Henry, 1998. "The norms of entrepreneurial science: cognitive effects of the new university-industry linkages," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 823-833, December.
  23. Jerry G. Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2007. "University licensing," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(4), pages 620-639, Winter.
  24. Lee Davis & Maria Larsen & Peter Lotz, 2011. "Scientists’ perspectives concerning the effects of university patenting on the conduct of academic research in the life sciences," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 14-37, February.
  25. Riccardo Fini & Rosa Grimaldi & Maurizio Sobrero, 2009. "Factors fostering academics to start up new ventures: an assessment of Italian founders’ incentives," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 34(4), pages 380-402, August.
  26. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R & Brewer, Marilynn B, 1998. "Intellectual Human Capital and the Birth of U.S. Biotechnology Enterprises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 290-306, March.
  27. Lindenberg, Siegwart, 2001. "Intrinsic Motivation in a New Light," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2-3), pages 317-42.
  28. David B. Audretsch & Paula E. Stephan, 1999. "Knowledge spillovers in biotechnology: sources and incentives," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 97-107.
  29. Levin, Sharon G & Stephan, Paula E, 1991. "Research Productivity over the Life Cycle: Evidence for Academic Scientists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 114-32, March.
  30. D'Este, P. & Patel, P., 2007. "University-industry linkages in the UK: What are the factors underlying the variety of interactions with industry?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1295-1313, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:40:y:2011:i:10:p:1354-1368. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.