University Spin-Offs: the Past, the Present, and the Future

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Studies in Higher Education

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Purpose of this paper: This paper examines the past and present of the university spin-off (USO) phenomenon by identifying research findings and synthesizing different spin-off practices from around the globe. The evolution and future of this phenomenon are then discussed, alongside potential new lines of research. Design/methodology/approach: This study adopts a systematic literature review approach, combined with a Multiple Correspondence Analysis. This approach allows for the creation of a robust and reliable synthesis of the research carried out over the past 35 years (1986–2020), offering a fine-grained depiction of the USOs’ underlying relationships through multiple correspondence analysis (MCA). Findings: This paper contributes to scholarly literature on academic entrepreneurship by providing insights into the analytical trends of the past, current evidence on the configuration of USOs, and discussions of the future of USO research. Several implications for improving performance, productivity, and reinforcing capabilities emerge to assist spin-off CEOs, university managers, and policymakers. Originality/Contribution: This paper fulfils an identified need by revealing the trajectory of the USO research field. Additionally, it presents an up-to-date reflection of USO antecedents, decisions, and outcomes, outlining an agenda for future research.


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