Enacted identities in the university spin-off process - bridging an imaginative gap

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This paper employs a case study to explore the interdependencies between enacted role identities and behavioural logics of eight inventor-founders embedded in university spin-off venturing. The major tendencies in the findings suggest that the inventor-founders enact their academic role identity following three distinct paths; re-use, return or discard. Based on these findings, two propositions are developed. Firstly, it is proposed that some academic founders may find themselves in an identity dilemma; choosing between returning to their academic roots normatively speaking or discarding their academic role identity to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities. Secondly and as an alternative, it is suggested that effectuation logics allows inventor-founders situated in volatile international environments to re-use their academic role identity as an important means in leveraging new entrepreneurial opportunities. Consequently, practical implications are drawn recommending that services, such as incubators and tech-transfer offices, incorporate tools that accommodate and assist inventor-founders in this kind of identity dilemma or alternatively employ training programs inspired by an effectuation approach.
TidsskriftJournal of International Entrepreneurship
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)239-265
StatusUdgivet - 1. sep. 2017


  • Case study
  • Effectuation
  • Inventor-founder
  • Role identity
  • Think aloud protocol
  • University spin-off

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