Three Essays On Academic Entrepreneurial Firms

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises


Johan Wiklund


Firms that are established to commercialize university research, known as academic spin-offs (ASOs), are an important engine for economic and societal impact. There is extensive evidence that ASOs possess characteristics that make them different from other entrepreneurial firms. ASOs are noted for long developmental cycles, high uncertainty due to commercialization of novel technology, need for large financial investments, and often extensive non-economic motives among the academic founders. These characteristics potentially make their evolution different from other types of new ventures. Yet, research on how they develop and become viable firms is scant. This dissertation intends to investigate the development and performance of nascent ASOs. In doing so, it contributes to the ASO literature by providing insights into the complex process of commercialization of research outcomes, and the evolution of ASOs as they develop over time. Second, it offers theoretical implications for a multiple of entrepreneurship and management theories and frameworks – ecosystem perspective, organizational hybridity, organizational goals, stakeholder enrollment framework, sponsorship theory, public-private partnership & ownership literature. Finally, the findings of this dissertation have policy implications for institutional actors at different levels who intend to design initiatives to promote academic and high-tech entrepreneurship.


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