Who really acts as an entrepreneur in the science commercialisation process: the role of knowledge transfer intermediary organisations
Consistent with the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship, the purpose of this paper is to recognise the complementary entrepreneurial role of knowledge transfer intermediary organisations in the context of two Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries: Poland and the Czech Republic.Design/methodology/approachThe aim was achieved through empirical studies relying on multiple-case study methodology and cross-case analysis covering 21 cases of commercialisation intermediary institutions. It was assumed that institutional and geographical conditions can impact the knowledge-based opportunity exploitation between different national economies.FindingsResearch confirmed that scientists in Poland and the Czech Republic are the central figures of the commercialisation process in terms of entrepreneurial opportunity recognition; however, they need support from intermediary organisations in many other entrepreneurial activities. The history of knowledge commercialisation and its intermediating entities in these countries is relatively young and spin-off company creation is not a common practice. Expertise knowledge, creativity and self-confidence admitted, by the respondents in both countries, can be an optimistic sign for the future efforts in fostering innovativeness of CEE countries. Stronger support of formal institutional framework and policies in those countries is expected.Originality/valueScience commercialisation has lately attracted much attention, but only a few studies have tried to develop conceptual frameworks considering knowledge-based entrepreneurship and knowledge commercialisation in their relations and subsequential roles. Also, over the past couple of years literature in this area has expanded mainly relying on observations in the USA and Western European countries. Hence, this study allowed to collect findings from CEE countries for which data are still insufficient but can significantly contribute to the theory development. Also, some recommendations for policymakers arise from this study. Further research could validate the results in an extensive quantitative study.