Barriers to the Development of Spin-offs : a Fuzzy-set Theoretic Approach
University spin-offs have idiosyncratic strengths in comparison to other new firms. However, evidence also shows that Polish university spin-offs have a low survival rate, and only a small percent of them grow into sustainable businesses. The purpose of this paper is to carry out an empirical study to determine the nature of barriers to the growth of Polish university spin-offs, in order to address the two major research questions considered by this paper: what are the major barriers to growth, and which combinations of these barriers have the greatest impact on the performance of the university spin-offs under study? Firstly, this paper attempts to explore these research questions through a literature review and pilot interviews, based on which a questionnaire was developed. Secondly, this study attempts to address the research questions through a fuzzy-set-theoretic approach by using a software package, such as fs/QCA- fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis. This paper identifies six key groups of barriers to the growth of university spin-offs in Poland, namely financial, competence, psychological, organizational, informational and formal barriers. Moreover, four alternative configurations of key groups of barriers to the growth of spin-offs that lead to low performance among the organizations examined are distinguished using fs/QCA. This problem is interesting not only from a scientific, but also a practical, point of view, pointing out the need for increased attention, not only from academic entrepreneurs themselves, but also for greater effort from universities and the government to cultivate university spin-offs. Most importantly, simultaneous action in all of these directions is necessary. The continuation of such research is also important, which will consider, on the one hand, a larger sample of firms, and, on the other hand, the results achieved so far and their re-conceptualization. (original abstract)
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