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Attention to exploration: the effect of academic entrepreneurship on the production of scientific knowledge

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Title: Attention to exploration: the effect of academic entrepreneurship on the production of scientific knowledge
Authors: Fini, R
Perkmann, M
Ross, J-M
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: We study how becoming an entrepreneur affects an academic scientist’s research. We propose that entrepreneurship will shift scientists’ attention away from intra-disciplinary research questions and toward new bodies of knowledge relevant for downstream technology development. This will propel scientists to engage in exploration, meaning they work on topics new to them. In turn, this shift toward exploration will enhance the impact of the entrepreneurial scientist’s subsequent research, as concepts and models from other bodies of knowledge are combined in novel ways. Entrepreneurship leads to more impactful research, mediated by exploration. Using panel data on the full population of scientists at a large research university, we find support for this argument. Our study is novel in that it identifies a shift of attention as the mechanism underpinning the beneficial spill-over effects from founding a venture on the production of public science. A key implication of our study is that commercial work by academics can drive fundamental advances in science.
Issue Date: 9-Mar-2021
Date of Acceptance: 15-Jan-2021
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/85537
DOI: 10.1287/orsc.2021.1455
ISSN: 1047-7039
Publisher: Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences
Start Page: 1
End Page: 21
Journal / Book Title: Organization Science
Copyright Statement: © 2021, The Author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You are free to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt this work, but you must attribute this work as “Organization Science. Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.2021.1455, used under a Creative Commons Attribution License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.”
Sponsor/Funder: Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Funder's Grant Number: ES/G038082/1
NE/L013134/1
Keywords: 1503 Business and Management
1505 Marketing
Business & Management
Publication Status: Published
Online Publication Date: 2021-03-09
Appears in Collections:Imperial College Business School