Academic entrepreneurship in Petroleum Rentier States

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis discusses Academic Entrepreneurship within a prism of the Triple Helix model of innovation. It unravels how the socio-economic and political institutional logics of petroleum rentier states influence commercialization of findings of academic research in oil-rich regions. The thesis argues for a sociological approach to the study of entrepreneurship. Conceptualizing Academic Entrepreneurship as a social game, and the three members of the Triple Helix as players, it unravels the mechanisms of the relations within the Triple Helix as it plays out in oil-rich rentier regions. It focuses on the resource-rich West-African state of Nigeria as case. Using data from multiple sources, it unearths the various plays and combats; conflicts and tensions, struggles and negotiations, disagreements and agreements, between the three members of the Triple Helix.
The central theme of the thesis is that the structural powers that condition academic entrepreneurship are governed by interdependencies between agency and context-specific socio-politico-economic institutional logics. This is in line with, yet goes beyond the prevalent claim that institutions impose rules that constitute constraints and enablers of agency. The thesis argues that agential actions are not mere rules-compliance, rather are outcomes of strategic and pragmatic calculations, emergent from agents' internalized externalities, and contingent upon agential held convictions about what works best within given institutional dynamics.
Grounded on Bourdieu's sociology, and underpinned by Critical Realist philosophy, this thesis develops and offers a new conceptual framework applicable in entrepreneurship, organizational, and regional development research. Its findings highlight points of divergence of the key players in innovation and entrepreneurship, and offers policy-makers insights into what works, what doesn’t work and what may never work regarding entrepreneurship and innovation policy. It brings to the fore, the criticality of context-specific institutional considerations in entrepreneurship and innovation policy-making.
Date of AwardJan 2016
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorZoe Dann (Supervisor), Vijay Vyas (Supervisor) & Andreas Hoecht (Supervisor)

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