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Causal Alternate Pathways for High Performance. A Study of University Spin-offs from Poland

Proceeding: 5th International Conference on Innovation Management, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability (IMES)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 516-528

Keywords : university spin-off companies; academic entrepreneurship; configuration theory; fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis; firm performance;

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The purpose of this paper is to explore causal alternate pathways for high performance among university spin-offs from Poland.Design/methodology/approach: The traditional configuration approach suggests using the strategy, structure, and environment domains to identify configurations. In response to calls to improve causal linkages, and drawing on work on start-ups’ configurations, entrepreneurial orientation is used with these domains to identify configurations. Fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) is used to analyze data collected via questionnaires from 53 university spin-offs from Poland. Findings: The study of the configuration of attributes was done using Boolean algebra - a notation system enabling the algebraic processing of logic statements. This allowed the assessment and selection of five alternative combinations of elements making up the organizational configurations of spin-off companies, leading to the high performance of the companies studied in Polish conditions. In all five identified configurations, firms adopt high external integration, and employ development strategies, exhibit high internal integration, or do not operate in a highly competitive industry. These firms carve out niches, and enjoy strong linkages with supply chain partners. Research/practical implications: The degree of development of academic entrepreneurship, as seen from the perspective of spin-off companies, is negligible in Poland. What is more, the understanding of so complex phenomenon that spin-off companies are, remains limited and, as such, requires in-depth research. It seems interesting to determine the type represented by Polish spin-off companies, the factors determining the success of these companies. The response to such questions will be provided by taking a holistic look at the problem under study from the configurational perspective and making an attempt to define the causal alternate pathways for high performance among these firms. Originality/value: The performed research contributes to the understanding of the core of functioning and growth of spin-off companies in Poland. The paper highlights differences across configurations, and that founders devise alternate pathways to achieve high performance. It also notes changes in relationships among variables across configurations.

Last modified: 2017-09-02 23:13:50