Work Package 1

Institutional and Environmental Determinants of Entrepreneurial Management

Defined as all the actions and managerial decisions concerning the creation of new businesses and the related development of innovations for new or reconfigured resources, regardless of the amplitude of this development effort (Stevenson & Jarrillo, 1990), entrepreneurial management is particularly suited to endure modern highly dynamic and intertwined local and global markets, from small start-ups to big incumbents. In fact, entrepreneurial orientation is not only a key advantage but together with knowledge and technology a key ingredient of innovation, since Schumpeter (1934) first set this virtuous connection. Besides usual developed settings, modern emerging economies, where the significant structural turbulence and market transition generate huge amounts of rapidly evolving entrepreneurial opportunities (Li et al. 2014), are a particularly suited context to extend and expand this field of enquiry. In addition, in many of these settings where the institutional pressures have traditionally been stronger, formal and informal institutions may eventually boost or stifle the effectiveness, the efficiency and even the existence of knowledge creation and entrepreneurship through the allocation (or not) of incentives and resources to these activities (Lu et al., 2008).

These considerations add an institutional component to the relationship between entrepreneurship, innovation and its knowledge and technology constituents. In fact, whereas the environmental characteristics may generate opportunities, what potential or actual opportunities entrepreneurs see, whether they decide to pursue these opportunities or not, and in which form, it is more a matter the system of incentives (and disincentives). These incentives and disincentives have much to do with formal and informal institutions, which ultimately have a role in setting the balance towards a go-nogo decision as much as resources’ available do. And we contend that this is a common element in both established and newly industrialized and emerging economies, although with differences in kind and intensity.

This is the main purpose and contribution of the researches intended to be carried out in this WP. More in detail, we intend to further integrate the resource-based view and its dynamic extensions within the field of strategic entrepreneurship (Hitt et al., 2001; Venkataraman & Sarasvathy, 2001) with another of its streams, i.e. the institution-based view (North, 1990; Oliver, 1997; Peng et al., 2009). This will allow the develop and take a macro-micro perspective about entrepreneurial activity in different settings.

In so doing, we will contribute to the extensive system-level studies made about institutional and environmental effects with firm-level analyses. In addition, we will develop a comprehensive picture by analysing: 1) different entrepreneurial settings, from academic spin-offs, to established firms, through academy-industry collaborations and start-ups; 2) along the different kinds of entrepreneurship, academic, independent and corporate; 3) in different institutional settings, from established ones to newly-industrialized (e.g., China) and-industrializing economies (i.e., China and Morocco). Accordingly, this work package is structured in the following three interrelated main lines of enquiries preceded by a multi-disciplinary literature review:

  1. Universities and Industry interactions;
  2. Independent and corporate entrepreneurial management;
  3. Macro-micro perspectives in latecomer firms’ catch-up and performance.

Each line of inquiry is characterized by the study of the individual and/or combined effects of institutional and environmental factors, forces or contexts on entrepreneurial activity in the different settings mentioned above. This will be done on a continuum of entrepreneurial management situations that goes from the inception stages of university-industry collaborations, entrepreneurial decision-making, through entrepreneurial engagement in universities’ spin-offs and independent start-ups, to established enterprises’ strategic renewal and catch-up strategies.

The prevalent theoretical extension’s nature of most of the research objectives will make for most of the studies to be quantitative, by using existing official, public or purposefully developed datasets and/or surveys contributed by the participating WP partners to ascertain, with the application of state-of-the-art statistical techniques, hypotheses developed. In addition, theoretical development will be also pursued by analysing emerging phenomena with qualitative methods, mainly based on case studies, as well as specific techniques and tools that allow the comparison of analysis by different researchers in which most of the WP partners have distinctive expertise.

There will be secondments implemented by UNISAL, Naica, GEM, UEB and AUI related to different tasks with the rest of the participating partners contributing to the WP through their expertise, networks and training and knowledge exchange activities.