The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 273–292 | Cite as

Academic entrepreneurship: Which inventors do technology licensing officers prefer for spinoffs?

  • Scott Shane
  • Sharon A. M. Dolmans
  • Joseph Jankowski
  • Isabelle M. M. J. Reymen
  • A. Georges L. Romme


Technology licensing officers play an important role in the creation of university spinoffs. Anecdotal data suggests that licensing officers make use of the representativeness heuristic when deciding which inventors’ technologies should (not) be commercialized through the founding of new companies. In this context, use of the representativeness heuristic implies that licensing officers favor for spinoff creation the inventions of academics that “fit” the profile of a typical inventor-entrepreneur. To examine this possibility, we conduct a randomized experiment with more than 200 technology licensing officers at U.S. universities and find evidence consistent with the use of the representativeness heuristic.


University spinoffs Entrepreneurship Technology licensing offices University inventions Technology commercialization 

JEL Classification

L26 M13 O31 O32 



Scott Shane gratefully acknowledges Grant Number 20050177 entitled “Women, Minorities and Entrepreneurship” from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which supported this research. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the financial support of InnovationLab at Eindhoven University of Technology.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott Shane
    • 1
  • Sharon A. M. Dolmans
    • 2
  • Joseph Jankowski
    • 3
  • Isabelle M. M. J. Reymen
    • 2
  • A. Georges L. Romme
    • 2
  1. 1.Weatherhead School of ManagementCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Eindhoven University of TechnologySchool of Industrial EngineeringEindhovenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Office of Technology TransferCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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