Dissertation Proposal

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The effectiveness of entrepreneurial firm's knowledge acquisition from a business incubator

The effectiveness of entrepreneurial firm's knowledge acquisition from a business incubator

Chapter 1: Introduction

The primary mission of a university based business incubator is to increase economic development in the region by assisting entrepreneurial firms during their growth and development phase (Rice, 1992; Rice and Matthews, 1995; NBIA, 2003). Previous research has shown that the incubator manager has a substantial impact on the management and operations of the incubator facility (Rice, 1992). Social capital is the catalyst that facilitates the movement of resources through the social structure (Lin, 2001). Resources required for firm formation and development are generally difficult to acquire since they exist outside the boundaries of the firm (Kirchhoff, 1994).

Entrepreneurial firms frequently seek resources during formation and development of the business (Kirchhoff, 1994). Various social structure actors possess the resources necessary during this process. The entrepreneurial firm that positions itself to interact with these various actors facilitates its capability to acquire outside resources. If the entrepreneurial firm's access to actors in the social structure is limited, then acquisition of resources for firm formation and development becomes limited. Entrepreneurial ventures can fail to gain or lose their competitive advantage due to resource constraints (Gaskill et al., 1993). Therefore, the acquisition of critical outside resources becomes a necessary component in the formation and development of the entrepreneurial firm. Often, high technology entrepreneurial firms are not knowledgeable about the business competences required to operate a business, such as knowledge about marketing, accounting, financial, and human resources (Rice, 2002). In developing new technology based firms, university business incubators are environments where firms may acquire such knowledge and business competences.

For an entrepreneurial firm, innovative output is often distinguished by the technological competence of the firm. This technological competence is often influenced by the management practices the firm incorporates into the organizational culture and structure of the firm. In this vein, this research examined the effectiveness of the business management knowledge acquired by newly developed high technology entrepreneurial firms, from interaction with incubator management. Specifically, it examined the results on the firms' new product development, technical competence, reputation and decreases in cost of customer sales from this association.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

The knowledge an entrepreneurial firm needs can be divided into categories based on the ten functional areas: (1) general management, (2) financial management (3) marketing and selling, (4) market research, (5) product R&D, (6) engineering, (7) production, (8) distribution, (9) legal affairs, and (10) personnel (Kazanjian, 1988). These functional categories, needed for firm formation and development, contain knowledge resources that categorize them into technological and general business knowledge bases.

Business process knowledge areas, meaning areas not dealing with the technological innovation, such as marketing and financial management, provide entrepreneurs with the most difficulty (Rice, 1992). High technology entrepreneurial firms may have a high degree of technological knowledge but may lack knowledge regarding small business management (Lee et al., 2000). As such, entrepreneurial firms encounter their greatest difficulty with knowledge that ...
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