Opportunity recognition in academic spin-offs: a contingency approach

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This paper analyses the factors that influence opportunity recognition of academic spin-offs from a contingency perspective. We focus on factors linked to the academic entrepreneur and propose that their relevance for explaining opportunity recognition in academic spin-offs depends on the context in which these firms operate: discovery (the necessary information for entrepreneurs to assess the new opportunities is available in the market) vs. creation (complete information about opportunity exploitation and the likelihood of achieving certain outcomes is not available in the market). Results obtained in a sample of 167 Spanish academic spin-offs show that, in a discovery context, academic entrepreneurs’ opportunity recognition is positively related to entrepreneurial self-efficacy, previous managerial experience, and access to academic and industry networks. In a creation context, only entrepreneurial self-efficacy and access to industry networks become critical to opportunity recognition, whereas previous managerial experience exerts a negative effect. Our results also show that the most relevant factor in a discovery context is previous managerial experience, while in a creation context, entrepreneurial self-efficacy is the most significant.
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