טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentSivan Tali
SubjectThe Fundamental Role of Absorptive Capacity in the
Opportunity Exploitation Stage
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisors Mr. Avi Fiegenbaum (Deceased)
Professor Emeritus Miriam Erez
Professor Emeritus Uzi De Haan
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

The process of entrepreneurship consists of discovering, evaluating and exploiting opportunities to create future goods and services. (Shane and Venkataraman, 2000). Considerable scholarly attention has been given to the discovery and evaluation stages (Shane, 2000; Alvarez and Barney, 2007), but only little research devoted to the opportunity exploitation process, and this research mainly focused on the decision to exploit (Hmieleski and Baron, 2008, Choi, Moren and Sheperd, 2008), little or no research has been devoted to the exploitation stage itself and there is no clear process and no clear antecedents. 

Our study focuses on the opportunity exploitation stage in new ventures operating in incubators; we propose and demonstrate that Absorptive Capacity (ACAP), the capabilities of the firm to recognize the value of new knowledge coming from external sources, to assimilate it, and to apply it to commercial ends, has a fundamental role in the process. We show that different team characteristics affect the different ACAP stages: new ventures team diversity has a positive effect on ACAP acquisition while goal setting has a positive effect on ACAP exploitation. We demonstrate that ACAP acquisition is positively related to new ventures performance, while the effect of ACAP exploitation on Performance is moderated by environmental uncertainty such that in a low uncertainty environment (high certainty) it has a negative effect on performance, whereas in high uncertainty environment ACAP exploitation has  a positive effect. Moreover we were able to demonstrate that implementing flexibility strategy has a positive effect on new ventures performance. We also tested for the incubator effect on new ventures performance using multilevel analysis- and demonstrate that there is a positive effect on performance, simply belonging to a certain incubator could increase or decrease the chances and the amount for first round financing.

The model was tested in Israel on a sample of 56 new ventures in 13 incubators.

The research makes significant theoretical contributions both to the entrepreneurship and ACAP literature: We propose and demonstrate that the exploitation stage is an ACAP centered process, whereby the ACAP antecedents: new venture’s team functional diversity and goal setting, affect ACAP that in turn affect new venture performance. The study is pioneer in examining the moderating role of the environment on the effect of ACAP exploitation on performance. We use a multilevel approach and demonstrate that factors at the incubator level and at the new venture level affect the new venture's performance.