Commercializing science by means of university spin-offs : an ethical review

J.C. Burg, van

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

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This paper reviews, structures and evaluates the moral issues generated by efforts to commercialize university research by means of university spin-offs. University spin-offs are new ventures founded to exploit university research. First, I review the advantages and disadvantages of commercialization of science as appearing from studies on university spin-off creation. This review suggests that spin-off creation has three substantial advantages: 1) knowledge utilization, 2) economic growth, and 3) learning from the other ‘culture’. Furthermore, three significant disadvantages are identified: 1) the potential change in research directions, 2) the anti-commons effect, and 3) the threat to objectivity. Subsequently, these arguments are evaluated by deontological and teleological ethical theories. These ethical evaluations result in different evaluations of the university spin-off phenomenon. Based on these ethical evaluations a balancing reflective equilibrium is constructed. Commercializing science by means of university spin-offs appears to be ethically desirable under the condition that disadvantages can be mitigated by designing the right organizational structures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2010 Academy of Management Annual Meeting, August 6-8, 2010, Montreal. Canada
Place of PublicationMontreal
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event2010 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - Quebec, Canada
Duration: 6 Aug 201010 Aug 2010


Conference2010 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management


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