This study aims to improve the understanding of the factors that influence the performance of universities’ technology transfer offices (TTOs), units charged with the responsibility for aiding the commercialization of research innovations.
To empirically test the link between factors affecting TTO performance and whether these effects are contingent on a country-specific environment, survey data were collected from 187 TTO stakeholders (TTO heads, TTO employees and university researchers) in 18 countries of Europe and Japan, and structural equation modeling (SEM) was used.
The results show that the internal embeddedness of a TTO within a university is the most important factor in determining a TTO’s performance. A TTO’s performance is positively affected by its marketing capabilities and social embeddedness. Strict patent portfolio management has no significant impact on TTO performance in Japan and has a negative effect on European TTOs’ performance.
This study highlights the role of organizational and interorganizational factors in TTO performance; moreover, this is one of the few multi-continent (Europe and Asia) studies in the domain of university–industry collaborations, expanding the current understanding of the contingent roles of the region of operation, which has remained unexplored, as extant studies were typically conducted in only one country.