University Spin-Offs (USOs) are important contributors to regional innovation, productivity and job creation; however, their failure rates remain very high. While studies have explored the factors affecting USO formation and success, scholars have highlighted the need for further research into the processes through which USOs can effectively reach sustainable returns by navigating several critical junctures. We posit that a micro-foundational perspective can contribute new knowledge on how USOs develop higher-order dynamic capabilities, which are essential to overcoming key challenges and leveraging opportunities. This paper explores how USOs develop the micro-foundational dynamic capabilities of adaptive, absorptive and innovative capabilities to successfully overcome formation’s critical junctures and reach long-term sustainability. The findings identify how USOs develop, deploy and integrate various combinations of micro-foundational capabilities to navigate each critical juncture and reach thresholds of sustainability. In particular, as firm development progressed and critical junctures increased in complexity, USOs needed to deploy all three capabilities simultaneously and in an integrated manner. We identify the limitations of existing linear models of USO development and contribute to theory development through the development of a new, dynamic model that illustrates how USOs build micro-foundational dynamic capabilities cumulatively and iteratively to overcome critical junctures.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland and the Research and Development Management Association Postgraduate Student Research support fund.
Nola Hewitt-Dundas is Professor of Innovation Management and Policy at Queen's University Belfast, UK and a Senior Research Associate with the UK Enterprise Research Centre. She is a UK Thought Leader with the Economic and Social Research Council and Innovate UK on the development of social science and enterprise policy and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the European Academy on Technology and Innovation Assessment. In the past few years she has contributed as an advisor to the NI Minister for Finance and Personnel on public sector reform. Her research interests include the dynamics of innovation ecosystems in an international context, innovation, technology transfer and networks with an emphasis on small and medium enterprises, business strategy and technology adoption. She has led and contributed to a wide range of public sector projects for organisations such as DETI, Forfas, Scottish Enterprise, NESTA London, EU and the World Bank. Her research has been financially supported by various organisations including the Economic and Social Research Council, UK, the Royal Irish Academy and the Higher Education Authority, Ireland. Outputs from this research has been published in leading international journals including Research Policy, Technovation, Small Business Economics, Scottish Journal of Political Economy, International Small Business Journal, Regional Studies and the Journal of Technology Transfer.
Brendan Galbraith is an Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship. His research has appeared in Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, Technovation, R&D Management, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Production Planning and Control, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, Total Quality Management and Business Excellence and the International Journal of Production Research. He has co-authored and co-edited two books in Social Innovation and Innovation Intermediaries and is a frequent plenary speaker at conferences and industry events. Dr Galbraith has led the development and exploitation of several prestigious innovation and research projects valued funded by the European Commission and a range of UK funding bodies. He has one software invention disclosure and his research has been presented in the European Parliament, European Commission, Committee de Regions, Northern Ireland Parliament and featured on BBC News. He has been the general chair of several international conferences: IEEE International Technology Management Conference, European Conference Innovation and Entrepreneurship and co-chair of European Conference for Knowledge Management and IEEE Global Conference on AI and IoT.
This work was supported by the Department for the Economy , Northern Ireland and the Research and Development Management Association Postgraduate Student Research support fund .
- University Spin-Offs
- Dynamic Capabilities
- Critical Junctures
- Technology Transfer
- Research Commercialization