Purpose According to the paradigm of the Triple Helix, universities are moving from their traditional roles of research, teaching and knowledge dissemination to an entrepreneurial role. Specifically, they contribute to innovation and competitiveness by creating academic spin-offs (ASOs). In such a context, the diffusion of digital technologies is impacting both on the development of new forms of academic entrepreneurship and on the motivations of academics in launching ASOs. Grounded on a recent reconceptualization developed on identity theory, this study investigates the motivations that lead an academic to establish a spin-off and if, how and why these motivations vary over time. Design/methodology/approach An extensive online survey was performed in order to obtain a final database of 151 Italian ASOs. Different statistical techniques were used, such as Cluster analysis and ANOVA, to identify different ASO profiles and to understand how and why these profiles change over time. Findings The results suggest that motivations change over time: while financial aspects become less important, academics give more importance to other issues. Time, experience and financial gain influence the evolution of academic entrepreneurs' motivations over time. Practical implications Insights derived from the study could help policy-makers and administrators in better understanding this phenomenon and the possible evolution of such academic motivations in the context of digitalization, and enable them to act accordingly to foster academic entrepreneurship. Originality/value The main contributions of the present study are the addition of empirical knowledge to the scant and anecdotal literature existing to date and the inclusion of cognitive and psychological theoretical perspectives in the academic entrepreneurship debate. Moreover, it is believed that no other study has investigated the above topics in the Italian context.
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo su rivista|