A Discriminant Analysis of Academic Entrepreneurship in Romanian Economic and Business Study Programs

Article excerpt

Abstract. The aim of this paper is to present different patterns of academic entrepreneurship in Romanian economic and business study programs. Based on a discriminant analysis, the study advances a classification of those 60 study programs that have reported incomes from commercial activities or contract research with business partners. Groups' characteristics are then compared for their knowledge creation vs. knowledge application orientation, geographical location and study fields.

Keywords: academic entrepreneurship, discriminant analysis, knowledge transfer determinants, econom

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1. Introduction

The growing need for universities to develop linkages with industry and to serve a 'third-mission' of contributing to local economic development has challenged their traditional missions and opened the way to academic entrepreneurship. Etzkowitz (1983) has coined the phrase entrepreneurial university to describe the series of changes that reflect the more active role universities have taken in promoting direct and active transfer of academic research. Entrepreneurial activities are expected to improve regional or national economic performance, as well as the university's financial advantage and that of its faculty. The possibility of playing such a role does, however, vary by region and country, reflecting differences in the way both the industry and academia have developed over this past century (Etzkowitz et al., 2000). Moreover, the concept is cultural dependent, and understanding it means to consider its social and economic external environment (Bratianu and Stanciu, 2010).

At the policy level, the commercialization of university research has been viewed as a key driver of national competitiveness and been consequently supported by a range of initiatives seeking to promote the links between universities and industry (Henderson et al., 1998): academic technology transfer offices have been created, dedicated employees have been trained and hired, incubators for the launching of new academic ventures have been set up and academic or independent pre-seed investment funds have been found. According to Siegel et al. (2004), to foster a climate of entrepreneurship, university administrators should focus on five organizational and managerial factors: reward systems, staffing practices in the technology transfer office (TTO), flexible university policies and additional resources to facilitate university technology transfer and working to eliminate cultural and informational barriers that impede the transfer process. Debackere and Veugelers (2005) also supports this view: universities should employ incentive structures, decentralized operating structures to provide greater autonomy to research teams and a centralized staffof experienced technology transfer personnel.

The literature on the "entrepreneurial university" has explored this institutionalization of technology transfer activities, including the introduction of management and organizational arrangements around intellectual property exploitation and their interaction (and potential conflict) with traditional academic practices (Uyarra, 2010). Critics have underlined the potentially detrimental effects of entrepreneurial science on the long-term production of scientific knowledge. In their view, entrepreneurial activities have the potential to affect the university system's mission and its traditional focus on academic governance of faculty (Behrens and Gray, 2001; Blumenthal et al., 1996; Slaughter and Leslie, 1997). Geuna and Nesta (2006) fear that an increase in university patenting exacerbates the differences across universities in terms of financial resources and research outcome and could lead to a substitution effect between patenting and publishing. D'Este and Perkman (2011) suggest that the vision of entrepreneurial university fails to neatly capture the complex nature of academic researchers' interactions with industry. …