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The development, growth, and performance of university spin-offs: a critical review

  • Marius Tuft MathisenEmail author
  • Einar Rasmussen
Article

Abstract

The literature examining university spin-offs is expanding rapidly. While most studies have examined the antecedents of spin-off creation at universities, the impact of spin-offs commercializing university research cannot be properly assessed without considering how these firms develop, grow, and perform over time. This study provides a systematic review of a recent research stream addressing the development, growth, and performance of university spin-offs. By critically analyzing 105 research papers published since 2000, this paper makes two main contributions. First, we present a conceptual framework outlining the variety of outcomes used in the literature to assess the development, growth and performance of university spin-offs, as well as the determinants of these outcomes at different levels of analysis. Second, we critically assess gaps in the extant literature and discuss promising directions for future research. We conclude that the university spin-off phenomenon provides an excellent empirical context for conducting research that contributes to more general theoretical discussions related to entrepreneurship, innovation and management.

Keywords

Academic entrepreneurship Academic spin-offs Firm growth Literature review Research-based spin-offs University entrepreneurship University spin-offs New venture growth Venture performance 

JEL Classification

M13 L26 L25 O32 O33 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful for helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript from the editors and three anonymous referees. Also, we would like to thank Karl Wennberg, Claire Leitch, Øyvind Bjørgum, Øystein Widding and Roger Sørheim. The manuscript was prepared as part of the Ph.D. thesis of the first author. All responsibility for errors of thought or fact remains with the authors.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial Economics and Technology ManagementNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Nord University Business SchoolBodøNorway

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