Spinoffs and Spawning

This stream of research looks at how organizations, or more specifically the people working in those organizations, create spinoffs.  Some of the questions in this stream include:

  • What types of employees are likely to start a spinoff.
  • What types of firms are more or less likely to generate spinoffs
  • What effect does generating a spinoff have on the parent firm?
  • What similarities do parent and progeny firms share?  How do they differ?
  • Does the parent firm of a progeny firm matter?  How?
  • What strategies do spinoffs pursue?  Do they differ from the strategies of de novo firms?
  • How do spinoffs ultimately perform?  Is this any different from de novo firms?
  • Are there characteristics that predict spinoff success and failure?

These questions have been more or less examined in strategic management:
  • Phillips 2002
    • He examined organizational geneology and its effect on the likelihood of organizational failure. His analysis of Silicon Valley law firm show that transfer of resources (esp. human capital and social capital) and routines between a parent organization and its progeny organization decrease life changes for the parent firms and increase life chances for the progeny.
  • Agarwal, Echambadi, Franco, Sarkar 2004
    • They developed and tested a theoretical framework linking knowledge inheritance to spinout generation, development and survival. They considered two types of knowhow, i.e. technological and market pioneering knowhow. Their analysis of spinouts in the disk drive industry show that incumbents with both strong technological and market pioneering knowhow generate fewer spinouts than firms with strength in only one of these areas. An incumbent’s capabilities at the time of a spinout’s founding positively affect the spinout’s knowledge capabilities and its probability of survival.
  • Fern, Cardinal, O’Neil 2012
    • They look at how pre-founding experience influence strategy. They find that structural knowledge is more influential in deciding a strategy than content knowledge.Founders exploit their own knowledge and experience rather than imitate competitors.
  • Campbell, Ganco, Agarwal 2012
    • They investigate which types of employees are likely to leave. Highly compensated employees are less likely to leave, but if they do it is more frequently to a spin out. Losing employees to spin outs hurts the parent firm.  Losing highly compensated employees hurts more.
(Adapted from course notes)
(Flashcards and other resources here)

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