Small Business Economics

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 57–74 | Cite as

Academics’ start-up intentions and knowledge filters: an individual perspective of the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship

  • Maribel GuerreroEmail author
  • David Urbano


Previous studies suggest that entrepreneurial activity tends to be greater in contexts where investment in new knowledge is relatively high (e.g., entrepreneurial universities). However, in this specific knowledge context, only a few academics recognize opportunities and act on them through entrepreneurial activities (e.g., spin-offs). A plausible explanation could be the existence of several filters that limit the total conversion of knowledge into economically useful knowledge. The vehicle to knowledge transfer is entrepreneurship. Therefore, the main actor is the academic entrepreneur, but no empirical study has highlighted the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship at the individual level. The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of academics’ start-up intentions and knowledge filters on the knowledge transfer process within entrepreneurial university. Adopting the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship and the planned behavior theory, a proposed model was tested with a sample of 207 academics enrolled in entrepreneurial universities in Spain using structural equation modeling. Our findings could provide insights for policy-makers to design policies that bring further benefits to society and educational organizations as well as significant contributions to the literature.


Knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship Entrepreneurial universities Academic entrepreneurship Start-up intentions Knowledge filters 

JEL classifications

M13 L26 I23 I28 



A previous version of this paper was presented at the 2012 Workshop on Academic Policy and the Knowledge Theory of Entrepreneurship that took place at the University of Augsburg on August 20-21 in Augsburg, Germany (Bavaria). Special thanks go to Erik Lehmann, David Audretsch, and Zoltan Acs for their invaluable suggestions and support. The authors are also grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful and constructive comments. Maribel Guerrero recognizes the support of Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT). David Urbano acknowledges financial support from Projects ECO2010-16760 (Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation) and 2005SGR00858 (Catalan Government Department for Universities, Research and Information Society).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness and Deusto Business SchoolDonostia-San SebastiánSpain
  2. 2.Business Economics DepartmentAutonomous University of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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