Panel Paper: A Contextualized Consideration of Organizational Justice: The Role of Justice Sensitivity in Formal and Informal Technology Transfer

Saturday, November 9, 2019
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Plaza Court 4 (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Donald Siegel and David Waldman, Arizona State University

We extend theories of organizational justice and social exchange by investigating justice perceptions of academic scientists and engineers regarding interactions with their university’s technology transfer office (TTO). The TTO is the entity at the university responsible for “managing” the commercialization processes (Siegel, Waldman, & Link, 2003). Academic scientists and engineers are required by law and by university policy to work with their TTO when commercializing their innovations.

We assess how these justice perceptions with respect to the TTO influence the propensity of scientists and engineers to engage in commercialization, as well as the context-based contingencies that are placed on the process by entrepreneurial identity and prosocial motivation. We use these perceptions to predict behavioral responses targeted at the TTO, specifically rule conforming vs. rule breaking technology transfer engagement.

We test our predictions using longitudinal data from 391 scientists and engineers at 25 major U.S. research universities. Our results indicate that organizational justice is positively associated with intentions to engage in formal (i.e., sanctioned) means of technology transfer, and negatively associated with intentions to engage in informal (unsanctioned) means of technology transfer, which we characterize as a form of organizational deviance. Our findings also show that entrepreneurial identity and prosocial motivation amplify and attenuate, respectively, the relationship between justice perceptions and technology transfer intentions. As such, we provide insights into justice sensitivity in a new context: innovation and entrepreneurship.