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

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    A detailed list of those variables may be found in the “Data and variables” section.

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Stefan Houweling.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 2.

Table 2 Descriptives and pair-wise correlations

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Moog, P., Werner, A., Houweling, S. et al. The impact of skills, working time allocation and peer effects on the entrepreneurial intentions of scientists. J Technol Transf 40, 493–511 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10961-014-9347-x

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Keywords

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

JEL Classification

  • O32
  • M13
  • J24