Resource accumulation for opportunity identification and exploitation by lead academic and non-academic entrepreneurs

Farquharson, Maris Hunter (2009) Resource accumulation for opportunity identification and exploitation by lead academic and non-academic entrepreneurs. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Understanding the opportunity identification process represents a core entrepreneurship domain research focus. Many studies focusing on traditional firm performance outcomes neglect the entrepreneurial human and social capital drivers that are linked to opportunity identification. Research on Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) has explored different dynamics associated with the formation of firms emanating from HEIs (e.g. from the perspective of the individual firm; by exploring support and influence offered by the parent organisation; and through analysis of the spinout process). The contribution from the individual entrepreneur in identifying an opportunity for commercialisation has not been fully explored.

This study looks at how academic entrepreneurs from HEIs and non-academic entrepreneurs, from the same industrial sector, identify opportunities and accumulate resources for commercialisation during the formation of life-science firms in a geographical life-science cluster in Scotland. Entrepreneurship, studied from a human and social capital perspective, identifies how lead entrepreneurs and other team members use their individual and accumulated experiences to leverage resources. The Resource-Based View (RBV), traditionally used to examine the link between firms’ internal characteristics and competitive advantage, is extended to explore entrepreneurial behaviour during opportunity identification. Emerging themes from extant literature identify entrepreneurial team formation and the external environment as potential resource pools which aid the formation of firms.

Using a process-based, case-study research approach, entrepreneurs and team members were interviewed to gather information about the identification of life-science opportunities. A lead entrepreneur’s general human capital, in the form of educational achievement, was found to be a key factor shaping the opportunity identification process. Further, a specific entrepreneurial and scientific human capital was leveraged to circumvent resource barriers. Social capital also facilitated the identification and leverage of scarce resources. Lead entrepreneurs with narrower resource profiles selected a resource munificent sponsored environment to gain access to additional resources. However, a dynamic, yet unreported in empirical research, was revealed from the data. Over time, lead academic entrepreneurs were encouraged to exit sponsored environments to enhance their independence whilst industry entrepreneurs generally sought sponsored environments for physical resources. Theory building ensued during the process of gathering data and analysing the data through comparison and iterating between existing theories.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Westhead, P.
Wright, D.M.
Keywords: Academic Entrepreneurship; Opportunity Identification; Life Sciences
Subjects: H Social sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 13577
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2013 11:15
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2017 21:49

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