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Spinoffs and their endowments: beyond knowledge inheritance theory

Andrea Furlan (Department of Economics and Management, University of Padova, Padova, Italy)
Roberto Grandinetti (Department of Economics and Management, University of Padova, Padova, Italy)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 11 July 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to integrate knowledge inheritance theory with the social capital perspective to explain the initial endowments of spinoffs.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors maintain that social capital plays a crucial part, both as a mechanism supporting the generation of intellectual capital prior to a spinoff’s foundation, and as an endowment that complements this capital once the spinoff is founded. Knowledge inheritance remains a fundamental mechanism for the formation of a spinoff’s intellectual capital. Its other endowment, social capital, derives from three types of relationship that future entrepreneurs develop within, through and outside their parent firm, all three of which are crucial to the formation of a spinoff’s intellectual capital.

Findings

The first result of the theoretical research is an integrative framework of a spinoff’s endowments. Moreover, the authors apply this framework to address two key research questions in the spinoff literature, i.e. whether spinoffs can differ from their parents in terms of intellectual capital; and why spinoffs tend to co-locate near their parents, in geographical clusters. The integrative approach helps to tackle these questions.

Originality/value

This conceptual paper offers a more comprehensive explanation of the emergence of spinoffs in terms of their initial endowments than the knowledge inheritance theory.

Keywords

Citation

Furlan, A. and Grandinetti, R. (2016), "Spinoffs and their endowments: beyond knowledge inheritance theory", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 570-589. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIC-02-2016-0023

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited