The Determinants of University Entrepreneurship. An American Case Study
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In recent years, many so-called developed countries had to change their competitive strategies, due to the emergence on the international scenario of countries based on low labour costs. A growing number of studies signals the need for the advance countries to increase the technological content of their products, while at the same time dealing with increasingly fragmented and integrated production systems and more and more complex innovation processes. This implies the necessity to look for external knowledge sources and growing interactions between firms and university, in an increasing process of technology transfer. Technology transfer can take place in different ways and different modalities. Among the most studied we find spin offs, i.e. firms created by academicians or students in order to develop the results of their research. Much has been written on their origin, development and performances. However, very rarely these firms arise spontaneously. More often they are the result of a complex decision process related to the personal evaluation of the founder on a wide variety of elements. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume that support to spin offs does not only mean financial subsidies or firm incubators, but also stimulation of the propensity of academicians towards entrepreneurship. Starting from the Theory of Planned Behavior introduced by Icek Ajzen in 1991, the present work is aimed at identifying the main determinants of the decision of academics of becoming entrepreneurs, testing then the identified determinants by means of a case study carried out among scholars of three Californian universities: ucla, University of California San Diego and Stanford University. The final aim is to identify policy suggestions based on the most "sensitive" determinants of the intention of academics to establish a firm.