Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

7-2009

Abstract

Establishing the microfoundations of academic entrepreneurship requires closer scrutiny of a key actor contributing to this phenomenon—the university scientist. We investigate the sense-making that scientists engage in as part of their participation in technology transfer and postulate that this process involves a potential modification in their role identity. We analyzed more than 70 h of interview data at a premier U.S. public research university. We observe that scientists invoke rationales for involvement that are congruent with their academic role identity. They typically adopt a hybrid role identity that comprises a focal academic self and a secondary commercial persona. We delineate two mechanisms – delegating and buffering – that these individuals deploy to facilitate such salience in their hybrid role identity. Overall, these patterns suggest that university scientists take active steps to preserve their academic role identity even as they participate in technology transfer. Our findings clarify the social psychological processes underlying scientist involvement in commercialization activity, and offer fresh insights to the academic entrepreneurship, science policy and role identity literatures.

Keywords

Academic entrepreneurship, Role identity, Identity work, Technology transfer policy

Discipline

Business | Higher Education | Strategic Management Policy | Technology and Innovation

Research Areas

Strategy and Organisation

Publication

Research Policy

Volume

38

Issue

6

First Page

922

Last Page

935

ISSN

0048-7333

Identifier

10.1016/j.respol.2009.02.007

Publisher

Elsevier

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2009.02.007

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