Revisiting the Agent Roles of the Technology Transfer Office in University Commercialization

Hsin I Huang, Shih-Hsin Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Under the influence of the U.S. Bayh-Dole Act, Taiwan followed the global trend and legislated the "Fundamental Science and Technology Act" in 1999. Over the period between 1999 and 2010, a series of laws was enacted to allow university and academic scientists to privatize the outcomes of government-funded research. However, there is little previous work on the interrelationships among the three major players in university commercialization activities: the university administration, the faculty, and the Technology Transfer Office (TTO). Agency theory is considered as a useful organizational theory to predict agent behavior in the Principal-Agent (P-A) relations in the process of university commercialization. Drawing upon agency theory, the dilemma and pitfalls of TTO as a dual agent are examined in this qualitative study with 30 interviewees from 10 universities in Taiwan. The results of this research have practical and theoretical implications for university technology transfer policy and the limitation of the incentive system for TTOs built within the universities.
Translated title of the contribution再探大學研發技轉中心的代理人角色
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-72
Number of pages40
JournalJournal of Technology Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • university entrepreneurship
  • principal-agent problems
  • technology transfer office
  • inconsistent institutional logics


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