Academic spin-offs’ entrepreneurial teams and performance: a subgroups approach
Academic spin-offs’ entrepreneurial teams generally concentrate high levels of research and development experience while they are often found lacking in commercial skills. This prompts the integration of surrogate entrepreneurs (practitioners) but the literature questions the effectiveness of these artificially created teams. We argue that faultline theory applied to this context of different identity-based subgroups in a team can provide important insight, and complement the traditional approaches to top team diversity such as upper echelons theory. Our research compares the impact of the three main possible academic spin-off entrepreneurial team configurations on the two principal success-related tasks, innovation and sales, and considers the role important stakeholders, such as public research institutions and industrial partners, can have. In a sample of 164 academic spin-offs, we show that certain configurations are more suited to certain objectives and that faultline theory does indeed contribute to better our understanding of the entrepreneurial teams’ outcomes. Furthermore, the expectations one might have with regard to the extended entrepreneurial team as a possible remedy for weak core team configurations are not supported by our data. Implications for theory and practice are provided.
KeywordsAcademic spin-offs Commercial performance Diversity Entrepreneurial teams Faultline theory Innovation
JEL ClassificationL26 M13 O30
The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and the Guest Editors James Cunningham and Paul O’Reilly for their comprehensive work, as well as participants of the Dublin 2015 Technology Transfer Conference for their feedback on an earlier draft of this paper.
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