The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 493–511 | Cite as

The impact of skills, working time allocation and peer effects on the entrepreneurial intentions of scientists

  • Petra Moog
  • Arndt Werner
  • Stefan HouwelingEmail author
  • Uschi Backes-Gellner


Little is currently known about the effects of skill composition on academic entrepreneurship. Therefore, in this paper, following Lazear’s (J Labor Econ 23(4):649–680, 2005) jack-of-all-trades approach, we study how the composition of a scientist’s skills affects his or her intention to become an entrepreneur. Extending Lazear, we examine how the effect of balanced skills is moderated by a balance in working time and peer effects. Using unique data collected from 480 life sciences researchers in Switzerland and Germany, we provide first evidence that scientists with more diverse and balanced skills are more likely to have higher entrepreneurial intentions, but only if they also balance their working time and are in contact with entrepreneurial peers. Therefore, to encourage the entrepreneurial intentions of life scientists, it must be ensured that scientists are exposed to several types of work experience, have balanced working time allocations across different activities, and work with entrepreneurial peers; e.g., collaborating with colleagues or academic scientists who have started new ventures in the past.


Jack-of-all-trades Entrepreneurial intentions Academic entrepreneurship Peer effects 

JEL Classification

O32 M13 J24 



Financial support from the Volkswagenstiftung for the “Knowledge and Innovation Transfer from Academia into Industry”-Project is greatly appreciated. The authors thank the participants of the “Academic Policy and the Knowledge Theory of Entrepreneurship”-Conference in Augsburg for their helpful comments. The views expressed herein and all errors are those of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petra Moog
    • 1
  • Arndt Werner
    • 2
  • Stefan Houweling
    • 1
    Email author
  • Uschi Backes-Gellner
    • 3
  1. 1.University of SiegenSiegenGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Mittelstandsforschung Bonn (IfM Bonn)BonnGermany
  3. 3.University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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