Exploring the Boundary between Entrepreneurship and Corporate Venturing: From Assisted Spin-outs to Entrepreneurial Spin-offs
Corporate entrepreneurship and corporate spin-offs have gained importance over the last decades. Corporate spin-offs play an increasingly important role in the development and growth of emerging, high-technology industries, thereby contributing to economic growth. While previous studies on corporate spin-offs have taken the established firm as a point of departure, a central issue concerns the locus of entrepreneurs. We adopt a bottom-up approach by considering those spin-offs that are created by employees, based upon an opportunity spotted while working for the parent company. Based upon the knowledge-based theory of the firm and the literature on opportunity identification, we develop a typology of corporate spin-offs. We identified three types of corporate spin-offs: Assisted spin-outs, Restructuring-driven spin-outs and Entrepreneurial Spin-offs. These types of corporate spin-offs differ from each other in terms of nature and formality of knowledge transfer; detection and implementation of opportunity identification; and performance. Based upon an in-depth analysis of 41 corporate spin-offs in Flanders, we found that Entrepreneurial Spin-offs outperform both Assisted and Restructuring-driven spin-outs on all four performance indicators. Our findings imply that parent companies often miss possibilities to capture value from opportunities that were originally developed in the parent company.
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