An exploratory study of retaining and maintaining knowledge in university technology transfer processes

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Abstract

Purpose – This paper focuses on the university science park incubator element of the technology transfer process where knowledge in a variety of forms needs to be retained and maintained. The aim is to investigate the networking competencies of stakeholders involved in the university technology transfer process using absorptive capacity theory to explore how knowledge is externally retained and maintained through these network relations.Design/methodology/approach – This paper undertakes an inductive theory building approach using in-depth multiple stakeholder interviews (n=30). The transcripts and results were analysed using open coding and NVivo. Six technology transfer meetings were also observed.Findings – The findings show that developing and maintaining network relationships can significantly aid the development and retention of knowledge within the university technology transfer process. It was found that conscious effort is made to retain relationships with network stakeholders. Prior knowledge, partner knowledge complementarity and reciprocity, resulting in collective learning, were found to motivate stakeholders to engage in external knowledge retention strategies. The results also supported suggestions in previous literature that relative capacity is an antecedent for absorptive capacity within organisations.Research limitations/mplications – The paper helps in establishing a research agenda for knowledge retention in technology transfer where traditionally the emphasis has been on development of knowledge. The absorptive capacity framework provides a consistent theoretical basis for exploring the role of stakeholders in this area.Originality/value – The paper focuses on how knowledge can be retained in technology transfer settings rather than being restricted to that of development. The use of the absorptive capacity framework has also enabled the concept of relative capacity to be developed within the research giving much needed empirical investigation into its relevance and feasibility.
LanguageEnglish
Pages663-684
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research
Volume17
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2011

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Technology transfer
Absorptive capacity
Transfer process
University technology transfer
Exploratory study
Stakeholders
Empirical investigation
Network relationships
Prior knowledge
Multiple stakeholders
Design methodology
Complementarity
Science parks
Competency
Research agenda
Stakeholder networks
Networking
Collective learning
Theory building
Incubator

Cite this

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title = "An exploratory study of retaining and maintaining knowledge in university technology transfer processes",
abstract = "Purpose – This paper focuses on the university science park incubator element of the technology transfer process where knowledge in a variety of forms needs to be retained and maintained. The aim is to investigate the networking competencies of stakeholders involved in the university technology transfer process using absorptive capacity theory to explore how knowledge is externally retained and maintained through these network relations.Design/methodology/approach – This paper undertakes an inductive theory building approach using in-depth multiple stakeholder interviews (n=30). The transcripts and results were analysed using open coding and NVivo. Six technology transfer meetings were also observed.Findings – The findings show that developing and maintaining network relationships can significantly aid the development and retention of knowledge within the university technology transfer process. It was found that conscious effort is made to retain relationships with network stakeholders. Prior knowledge, partner knowledge complementarity and reciprocity, resulting in collective learning, were found to motivate stakeholders to engage in external knowledge retention strategies. The results also supported suggestions in previous literature that relative capacity is an antecedent for absorptive capacity within organisations.Research limitations/mplications – The paper helps in establishing a research agenda for knowledge retention in technology transfer where traditionally the emphasis has been on development of knowledge. The absorptive capacity framework provides a consistent theoretical basis for exploring the role of stakeholders in this area.Originality/value – The paper focuses on how knowledge can be retained in technology transfer settings rather than being restricted to that of development. The use of the absorptive capacity framework has also enabled the concept of relative capacity to be developed within the research giving much needed empirical investigation into its relevance and feasibility.",
author = "Kristel Miller and Rodney McAdam and Sandra Moffett and Michael Brennan",
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