Working Papers

The Impact of Founder Professional Education Background on the Adoption of Open Science by For-Profit Biotechnology Firms


This paper investigates the effect of founder professional education background on the adoption of the open-science technology management strategy by a sample of 512 young biotechnology firms. One major finding of the paper is that after controlling for founder prior work experience and other organizational and environmental factors, biotechnology firms with proportionally more Ph.D.-holding entrepreneurs on the founding team have higher probability to adopt open science. A second note-worthy finding is that founder professional education background can mitigate the constraint of organizational environment on strategy. While a crowded technological niche provides a more challenging environment for firms to implement open science due to higher scooping risks, the deterring effect of such a high-risk environment is smaller among firms founded by proportionally more Ph.D.-holding entrepreneurs. I also found that the link between entrepreneurial professional education background and open science is stronger in a less favorable institutional environment for open science. The finding is consistent with and complements the growing body of work emphasizing the importance of entrepreneurial background in developing knowledge about new venture strategy and structure. It suggests that demographic changes in educational background of entrepreneurs in an organizational field may bring exogenous shocks to and shift the strategic trend in an organizational field. The implications for management innovations in an organizational field are discussed.