The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 138–160 | Cite as

The influence of organizational culture and climate on entrepreneurial intentions among research scientists

  • Annelore HuygheEmail author
  • Mirjam Knockaert


Over the past decades, universities have increasingly become involved in entrepreneurial activities. Despite efforts to embrace their ‘third mission’, universities still demonstrate great heterogeneity in terms of their involvement in academic entrepreneurship. This papers adopts an institutional perspective to understand how organizational characteristics affect research scientists’ entrepreneurial intentions. Specifically, we study the impact of university culture and climate on entrepreneurial intentions, including intentions to spin off a company, to engage in patenting or licensing and to interact with industry through contract research or consulting. Using a sample of 437 research scientists from Swedish and German universities, our results reveal that the extent to which universities articulate entrepreneurship as a fundamental element of their mission fosters research scientists’ intentions to engage in spin-off creation and intellectual property rights, but not industry-science interaction. Furthermore, the presence of university role models positively affects research scientists’ propensity to engage in entrepreneurial activities, both directly and indirectly through entrepreneurial self-efficacy. Finally, research scientists working at universities which explicitly reward people for ‘third mission’ related output show higher levels of spin-off and patenting or licensing intentions. This study has implications for both academics and practitioners, including university managers and policy makers.


Entrepreneurial intentions Academic entrepreneurship Organizational culture Organizational climate 

JEL Classification

L26 M13 O32 



The authors would like to thank the interviewed technology transfer officers for their participation, as well as all respondents who completed the online survey. The first author also gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO) in undertaking this research. We would further like to express our appreciation for the valuable feedback provided by Evila Piva, Truls Erikson, Birthe Soppe, and the participants from the 2013 Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference and T2S Conference.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GhentGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Centre for EntrepreneurshipUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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