Stakeholder goal achievement in Australian business incubators

Trewartha, Graeme Edward (2012) Stakeholder goal achievement in Australian business incubators. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Australian state and federal governments have funded business incubators since the early 1990s, the typical purpose of this investment being to provide a nurturing environment for business start-ups while contributing to local economic development. However, this summation of the functions of business incubation does not identify an essential dichotomy concerning the goals of incubator sponsors. Business incubators depend upon a range of stakeholders (including board members, managers and tenants) for their initial establishment, and subsequently, in their ongoing operation. A review of the extant literature suggests the presence of a ‘research gap’ in the literature. This ‘gap’ indicates a failure to consider the goals, benefits and costs accruing to, or being borne by, Australian business incubator stakeholders, especially those involved in boards of management, this group, usually without recompense, providing ongoing governance, mentoring, business advice and other essential services to their incubators. The literature review provided the necessary background which allowed the researcher to develop a conceptual framework for the study acting as the foundation of the thesis. The research involves qualitative and quantitative methodology. In the first instance, a series of interviews of incubator board members, managers and tenants was completed and documented. Material derived from the interviews, along with internet sourced information, provided a qualitative data base of Australian incubation practice supporting the development of an e-mail survey that was distributed throughout the incubator industry. A series of propositions were tested using survey response material, interpretation including a descriptive investigation followed by bivariate and multivariate analysis. This study has identified a link between institutional and stakeholder theories in the business incubation sector. The findings, concerning some issues, indicate that incubator stakeholders – particularly board members and managers – are satisfied that they are achieving their goals. However, tenant respondents, possibly due to the differing goals and composition of the tenant cohort, indicate that their goal achievement expectations are not being realised.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Accounting
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Economics and Finance
Historical > FOR Classification > 1503 Business and Management
Historical > FOR Classification > 1605 Policy and Administration
Keywords stakeholders, business incubation, infant entrepreneurial enterprises, business development policy, enterprises, business start-up, new businesses, Australia
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