Academics' Organizational Characteristics and the Generation of Successful Business Ideas

Posted: 17 Nov 2009

See all articles by Alessandro Grandi

Alessandro Grandi

University of Bologna

Rosa Grimaldi

University of Bologna - Department of Management

Date Written: 2005


The organizational factors that affect the success of new ventures established by academics are investigated. As a measure of success of newly established companies, the focus is on two characteristics of these business ideas: business idea articulation (the degree of detail and extent that it provides a clear and detailed mission statement) and business idea market attractiveness (its capacity for being attractive to the marketplace). The business idea itself is the complex of products/services, knowledge, competencies, market, and technologies needed to run a business. Two research hypotheses about the organizational characteristics (articulation of roles, communication and networking, market orientation of research groups, and prior joint experience) of startups are proposed: (1) that the business idea market attractiveness of the startup is positively influenced by the market orientation of the academic founders and the interaction frequency with outside agents, and (2) the business idea articulation is positively affected by the articulation of roles and the degree of prior joint experience of the academics. The hypotheses were tested by a sample of 42 Italian academic startups. Public data were collected and supplemented with information supplied by professors, researchers, scientists, and colleagues of spin-offs. Results support existing theories about the importance of combining different outside knowledge sets that need to be accessed through external relations. Outward looking academics are familiar with market requirements that are transferred to their own research. Results empirically support the importance of articulation of roles and prior joint experience in the case of academic founding firms. Finally, contributions to theory and implications for managers, public policy, and future research are discussed. (TNM)

Keywords: University spinoffs, Firm performance, Roles, Management teams, Social networks, Startups, Entrepreneurial faculty, Technology transfer, Organizational behavior, Organizational structures

Suggested Citation

Grandi, Alessandro and Grimaldi, Rosa, Academics' Organizational Characteristics and the Generation of Successful Business Ideas (2005). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, Available at SSRN:

Alessandro Grandi (Contact Author)

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, 40100

Rosa Grimaldi

University of Bologna - Department of Management ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 1
Bologna, Bologna 40126

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