Technical entrepreneurship in the UK : an examination of the relationship between the previous occupational background of the technical entrepreneur and the management of the small technology-based venture
With the growing appreciation of the contribution of small technology-based ventures to a healthy economy, an analysis of the individual who initiates and manages such ventures - the technical entrepreneur - is highly desirable, predominantly because of the influence of such an individual on the management and future strategy of the venture. An examination of recent research has indicated that a study of the previous experience and expertise of the entrepreneur, gained in previous occupations, may be highly relevant in determining the possible success of a new venture. This is particularly true where the specific expertise of the entrepreneur forms the main strategic advantage of the business, as in the case of small technology-based firms. Despite this, there has been very little research which has attempted to examine the relationship between the previous occupational background of the technical entrepreneur, and the management of the small technology-based firm. This thesis will examine this relationship, as well as providing an original contribution to the study of technical entrepreneurship in the UK. Consequently, the exploratory nature of the research prompted an inductive qualitative approach being adopted for the thesis. Through a two stage, multiple-site research approach, an examination was made of technical entrepreneurs heading award-winning technology-based small firms in the UK. The main research questions focused on management within the firm, the novelty and origin of the technology adopted, and the personal characteristics of the entrepreneur under study. The results of this study led to the creation of a specific typology for technical entrepreneurs, based on the individual's role in the development of technology within his previous occupation.