Schumpeterian versus Kirznerian
A comparison of academic and non-academic
Sari Roininen and Ha
Department of Business Administration and Social Sciences,
University of Technology, Lulea
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify how different modes of resource conﬁguration,
entry strategy and product/market characteristics affect new ventures’ start-up processes as well as
outcomes in terms of ﬁrm growth and revenues.
Design/methodology/approach – Case studies of three academic spin-offs and three non-academic
new ventures are employed as a base for analytical generalisation.
Findings – Non-academic ventures and academic spin-offs have different bases for their venture
creation and follow different strategies to enter their speciﬁc markets. Academic spin-offs are to a larger
extent innovative, product-oriented and enter their target markets employing a technology/science-push
strategy, which requires considerable resources and partner cooperation to manage. The non-academic
ventures, on the contrary, exploit emerging opportunities on the market through a market-pull strategy
relying mainly on offerings already known to the market and building on their own, in-house resources.
Research limitations/implications – Future research should beneﬁt from investigating factors
and conditions affecting different ventures’ start-up process by utilizing qualitative, in-depth
approaches as well as quantitative approaches and a more robust database.
Practical implications – Venture creation processes are not uniform but dependent on situational
and contextual factors. Overall, academic spin-offs come forward as examples of Schumpeterian
entrepreneurship characterised by exploration and innovation, while the more “Kirznerian” and
non-academic start-ups primarily recognise and exploit upcoming market opportunities based on
resources they control. The results highlight challenges for nascent entrepreneurs as well as for policy
makers supporting new venture creation.
Originality/value – A comparison highlighting critical events, resource conﬁgurations and
environmental conditions of different start-up processes depending on the new ventures’ origin.
Keywords Business formation, Entrepreneurialism, Entrepreneurs
Paper type Research paper
Although previously studied, one of the least understood features of modern societies
is still the process of creating a new venture (Reynolds and White, 1997). Even less
studied is the phenomenon that this paper highlights: differences between different
categories of start-ups emanating from different environmental settings. Scholars in
the ﬁeld of institutional theory often argue that actors (e.g. new ventures) are
embedded in wider institutional settings where speciﬁc conditions and constraints
shape behaviour and activities of organisations (North, 1990). By adopting existing
rules and procedures, ventures get rewarded and can thereby acquire necessary
resources, customers, political power and legitimacy (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983).
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Journal of Small Business and
Vol. 16 No. 3, 2009
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited