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On the structure of business incubators: de-coupling issues and the mis-alignment of managerial incentives

Ali J. Ahmad () and Courtney Thornberry ()
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Ali J. Ahmad: University of Warwick
Courtney Thornberry: University of Warwick

The Journal of Technology Transfer, 2018, vol. 43, issue 5, No 4, 1190-1212

Abstract: Abstract Business incubators are structurally complex and have resisted any major change to their internal structure, replicating throughout the world in large numbers, and delivering value through numerous models. A question, thus arises, what specific structural properties of incubators facilitate the organizational form’s replication and performance in a range of institutional contexts? In order to shed light on this question, an exploratory-inductive approach is adopted; and, utilizing the tools of organization theory, the internal environment of the business incubator is de-coded. This draws attention to attributes of the hybrid incubator-form’s internal structural properties that have not been discussed in the past, including de-coupling issues and the mis-alignment of managerial incentives with the actual role of incubating. These properties, rather than impacting incubators’ status, award incubators with ceremonial value and help their managements avoid close inspections of performance. This in turn, it is proposed, has allowed for their rapid replication in a variety of socio- cultural, economic and institutional contexts.

Keywords: Hybrid organizations; Business incubator; Institutional theory; Organizational theory (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1007/s10961-016-9551-y

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