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Entrepreneurs in Academe: An Exploration of Behaviors among Life Scientists

Karen Seashore Louis, David Blumenthal, Michael E. Gluck and Michael A. Stoto
Administrative Science Quarterly
Vol. 34, No. 1 (Mar., 1989), pp. 110-131
DOI: 10.2307/2392988
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2392988
Page Count: 22
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Entrepreneurs in Academe: An Exploration of Behaviors among Life Scientists
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Abstract

This paper explores entrepreneurship in the research university, a setting in which there has been a marked change over the past half century in norms governing relationships between scholars and the commercial sector. A survey of life science faculty members in research universities is used to distinguish five types of academic entrepreneurship: (1) engaging in large-scale science (externally funded research), (2) earning supplemental income, (3) gaining industry support for university research, (4) obtaining patents or generating trade secrets, and (5) commercialization-forming or holding equity in private companies based on a faculty member's own research. The results suggest models for the different types of entrepreneurship. Individual characteristics and attitudes are the most important predictors of large-scale science and supplemental income, which are more traditional, while local group norms play a more important role in predicting active involvement in commercialization. University policies and structures have little effect on entrepreneurship. Implications for organizational theory and the role of the university are discussed.

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