Understanding influential factors in the choice of the selection process : A neglected aspect of the research literature on business incubators

University essay from KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM); KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to enhance the understanding of what factors influence the choice of the selection process in government-funded business incubators. The study was conducted as an abductive multiple case-study of selection processes in Swedish government-funded business incubators. Our findings are summarized in a framework illustrating that owners and financiers stipulate important pre-conditions for the opportunities business incubators have in designing and implementing a certain selection process through their impact on the incubator goal and target group, and subsequently the choice of criteria. The regional context (local economics, level of entrepreneurial activity, collaborations and brand awareness) also stipulate a precondition for the incubator’s choice of the selection process by affecting the inflow of business ideas and therefore the pool of potential candidates available to the incubator. The amount and quality of the inflow mainly reflects in the rigorousness or flexibility in the application criteria. The design of the process, and thus the practices included, is highly influenced by the orientation of managers and operative staff in the incubator, conditioned upon available resources (organizational capabilities and constraints), and influenced by best practices, investor objectives, and macro trends. The study provides implications for research on selection processes in business incubators by highlighting that prior research has had a limited perspective of selection by primarily focusing on criteria and the flexibility and rigorousness in applying these, thus disregarding other practices and prevailing selection as an event rather than a process. Furthermore, we pinpoint several factors affecting the choice of the selection process, not previously discussed in the research literature. The emerging framework may also be used by stakeholders in order to understand how different factors impact the selection process and identify areas that are weak and need to be improved.

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