Teams’ boundary-spanning capacity at university: Performance of technology projects in commercialization

Mozhdeh Taheri, Marina van Geenhuizen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
108 Downloads (Pure)


Universities increasingly are taking on the commercialization of knowledge as their third mission. More recently, they appear to be challenged to go even beyond that mission and adopt more interactive relationships with user groups and society. A shift like this calls for a solid study on how well the knowledge commercialization has performed at university in recent years. Focussing on a European country, the Netherlands, this paper provides a characterization of that performance and the underlying factors, and in particular the boundary-spanning capacity of university teams. In an analysis of trends in commercialization, involving almost 370 university-driven technology projects, we observe that 22% of all older projects succeed in market access within ten years after start of the project. For younger ones, this is 15% of all projects within 5 years after start. To clarify these possibly low levels, a rough-set analysis of about 40 technology projects is carried out, pointing to the years of collaboration with a large firm/user organization and an efficient use of resources as positive influences on commercialization, while affinity among project managers with the market also tends to be a key factor. Despite a general trend of more permeable university-industry boundaries, it deserves recommendation to further increase boundary-spanning activities, among other things through co-creation labs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-43
Number of pages13
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Boundary-spanning
  • Co-creation
  • Collaboration
  • Commercialization
  • Technology projects
  • The Netherlands
  • Universities


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