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Exploring board formation and evolution of board composition in academic spin-offs

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Abstract

An in-depth analysis of 11 cases is used to provide insight into the neglected area of the dynamics of boards in academic spin-offs. Drawing on stage-based, resource dependence, and social network theories, we explore board formation and changes in board composition occurring in Norwegian and US spin-offs. We find that these theories are important complements to earlier research on boards in technology-based new ventures. The process of board formation is mainly driven by social networks of the founders. Although we find differences in the initial board compositions in Norwegian and US spin-offs, there is convergence over time in subsequent board changes, which are mainly driven by the social networks of the board chair. Additions of key board members are associated with the progress of a spin-off developing from one stage to another. Several avenues for future research and implications are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge the helpful suggestions of the anonymous reviewers and would like to thank Andrew Nelson, SCANCOR, and IØT seminar participants for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper.

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Correspondence to Ekaterina S. Bjørnåli.

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Bjørnåli, E.S., Gulbrandsen, M. Exploring board formation and evolution of board composition in academic spin-offs. J Technol Transf 35, 92–112 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10961-009-9115-5

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