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Do Hybrid Goals Pay off? Social and Economic Goals in Academic Spin-Offs

Hooman Abootorabi Shankar, R. Rasmussen, E. Wiklund, J.
Journal of Management Studies. June 6, 2023

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New ventures often pursue both economic and social goals, known as goal hybridity. Yet, we know less about how organizational goal hybridity influences the performance and governance of new ventures. Goal hybridity is common among academic spin-offs (ASOs) seeking to commercialize scientific research from universities. We hypothesize that ASOs’ goal hybridity influences their subsequent performance and their governance structure. We also hypothesize that ASOs who enroll multiple stakeholders with investment goals aligned with their hybrid goals outperform the ASOs who do not. By combining several data sources, we follow Norwegian ASOs longitudinally and find that goal hybridity explains their subsequent performance differences, such that ASOs relying on both economic and social aspects of their business when formulating their goals outperform those who rely purely on economic or social goals. We also find that ASOs with hybrid goals outperform when they enroll multiple stakeholders who are aligned with their hybrid goals. Our findings have implications for theorizing in hybridity, stakeholder enrolment, and the organizational goals literature. We also provide a fuller understanding on performance heterogeneity of ASOs, and we offer a set of practice and policy implications to academic entrepreneurship and public-private partnership literature.