Drawbacks of spin-off creation in higher education: a Central European perspective

Sándor Huszár, Szabolcs Prónay, Norbert Buzás

In: Proceedings of 8th International Conference for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Regional Development. Konferencia helye, ideje: Sheffield, Egyesült Királyság / Anglia, 2015.06.18-2015.06.19. Sheffield: Sheffield University, 2015. pp. 502-518.


In the recent decades academic entrepreneurship has gained an increasing attention in the literature since universities had been engaging in the commercialization of the scientific results. Despite of the popularity, there is still a lack of studies investigating the role of individual scientists in the transition of universities to becoming entrepreneurial universities and even studies focusing on Central European countries. The topic requires interdisciplinary thinking because in one hand scholars have to understand the milieu of natural- and life sciences, engineering and agriculture and on the other hand the methodology of social sciences should be applied for the investigation.

Although the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) has been developed more than three decades ago, the researches on entrepreneurship attempted to adopt as a theoretical framework only in the recent decade. In our study we use TPB model for determining the main influencing factors of entrepreneurial intention with the extension of potential drawbacks. Building on the theory we conducted a survey among researchers at four scientifically respected Hungarian universities to unfold the most influencing factors of entrepreneurship. We received 141 responses due to time constraints between 26 February 2015 - 05 April 2015.

The results provide evidence of the relevance of attitudes, social norms and perceived behavioral control in connection with entrepreneurial intention in the TPB model. This suggest that those scientists who have positive attitudes, are encouraged by the social environment and feel control over entrepreneurial activity, are tend to establish spin-off company for commercializing their research results, and vice versa. Conducting Principal Component Analysis on other 8 variables we can concluded that previous entrepreneurial experiences, industrial embeddedness and the ability of covering the expenditures of spin-off creation also foster entrepreneurship. In general, respondents expressed rather negative views than positive opinion relating to entrepreneurship in our survey. While two-third of the respondents would commercialize their research results through spin-off creation if they got possession of commercializable invention, there is only a small proportion of academics (11%) planning to commercialize his recent research results through entrepreneurial activity. Therefore we approach these potential influencing factors as drawbacks instead of incentives.

Keywords: Drawbacks, Entrepreneurship, Spin-off, Theory of Planned Behavior, University


Norbert Buzás, PhD, MBA
head of research group

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