Encyclopedia 26. september 2019 4170 ogledov

Effect of scientific excellence and business experience on academic entrepreneurship in tourism

Marcin OLSZEWSKI, Department of Tourism Poznań University of Economics and Business, Poland, marcin.olszewski@ue.poznan.pl

Marlena A. BEDNARSKA, Department of Tourism Poznań University of Economics and Business, Poland, marlena.bednarska@ue.poznan.pl

Piotr ZMYŚLONY, Department of Tourism Poznań University of Economics and Business, Poland, piotr.zmyslonyue.poznan.pl



<insert-authors> (2019). <insert-abstract-title>. AIRTH 2019 Conference: Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Success; 2019 Sep 12 - 14; Innsbruck, Austria. Retrieved: <insert-date>, from http://www.airth.global


Despite growing interests in factors affecting academic entrepreneurship, relatively little research has been dedicated to the tourism industry and tourism academia. This limited empirical attention is surprising given the vital role of university-to-industry knowledge transfer as a determinant of innovativeness and competitiveness of the tourism industry. The resource based view suggests that there is a positive relationship between academics’ scientific excellence and entrepreneurial activities (Bekkers & Bodas Freitas, 2008). Moreover, based on proximity theory we assume that business experience could facilitate scientists’ understanding of industry expectations and lead to event better cooperation between academia and industry. On the other hand, star scientists (highly engaged in research) could perceive commercial activities as less important and less valued, and therefore reduce their entrepreneurial actives.

This study aims to examine the role of scientific excellence and business experience in determining academic entrepreneurial activities. We argue that scientific strength and business links facilitate scientists’ contact with industry, which leads to the development of the following hypotheses: Hypothesis 1. Scientific excellence has a positive impact on academic entrepreneurship in tourism. In our study scientific excellence is operationalized as the ability to successfully apply for public grants as a principal investigator (H1a) and contractor (H1b), senior position at the university hierarchy, i.e. doctor with habilitation or full professor (H1c), and internationalization understood as participation in international exchange (H1d) and international research projects (H1e). Hypothesis 2. Scientists’ business experience has a positive impact on academic entrepreneurship in tourism. Scientists’ business experience is measured by personal acquaintance with entrepreneurs (H2a), maintaining frequent contacts with entrepreneurs (H2b), cooperation with industrial organizations (H2c) and current or past employment in tourism enterprises (H2d).

As stated by Muscio and Nardone (2012, p. 712), “production of high-quality research is a necessary condition for knowledge transfer”. Previous studies indicate that there is a link between academics’ ability to obtain grants and the ability to obtain financing from a private sector. This link is based on the assumption that grant holders are more productive and, thus, more attractive for industry. Moreover, according to D’Este and Patel (2007) academic status of researchers significantly influences the variety of interactions with industry. They suggest that “individuals who are well established in their academic careers will be more likely to capitalize on their reputation to increase their engagement in commercialization activities” (p. 1295). Kyvik and Larsen (1994) found the relationship between the degree of international contact and research performance. On the other hand, academics who have greater entrepreneurial experience are more involved in knowledge transfer activities. According to Krabel and Mueller (2009) cooperation with industry can increase scientists’ awareness that their scientific work could have market value.

The empirical analysis is based on a questionnaire survey carried out among scientists involved in tourism research. Invitation with a link to the online survey questionnaire was sent to 303 scientists at the beginning of 2018. We received usable questionnaires from 76 participants, representing a response rate of 25%, which is an acceptable result compared to other web-based studies. To test our hypotheses, we employed logistic regression with dichotomous dependent variable describing whether or not scientist was involved in the entrepreneurial activity (cooperation with industry).

Our results partially supported the links between scientific excellence, business experience and engagement in entrepreneurial activities in a tourism context. We found a significant positive association between participation in a research project as a contractor and knowledge transfer engagement (H1b). Involvement in research projects as a contractor increases the probability of entrepreneurial engagement more than 5 times (Exp(B) = 5,402, p = 0,017). Moreover, we found that personal acquaintance with entrepreneurs (H2a; Exp(B) = 1,804, p = 0,046) and frequent cooperation with industrial organizations (H2c; Exp(B) = 1,740, p = 0,052) increase the probability of entrepreneurial engagement by 80% and 74% respectively.



The paper is the result of the research project “Knowledge transfer from universities to companies – the determinants and the impact on the innovativeness of the tourism industry” financed by the National Science Centre, Poland (decision no. DEC-2014/15/D/HS4/01217).



Bekkers, R., & Bodas Freitas, I.M. (2008). Analysing knowledge transfer channels between universities and industry: To what degree do sectors also matter? Research Policy, 37(10), 1837–1853.

D’Este, P., & Patel, P. (2007). University-industry linkages in the UK: What are the factors underlying the variety of interactions with industry? Research Policy, 36(9), 1295–1313.

Muscio, A., & Nardone, G. (2012). The determinants of university–industry collaboration in food science in Italy. Food Policy, 37(6), 710–718.

Krabel, S., & Mueller, P. (2009). What drives scientists to start their own company? An empirical investigation of Max Planck Society scientists. Research Policy, 38(6), 947–956.

Kyvik, S., & Larsen, I. M. (1994). International contact and research performance. Scientometrics, 29(1), 161–172.


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