Institutional and organizational antecedents of personnel motivation in Knowledge Transfer Offices
Knowledge Transfer Offices (KTOs) have become key actors in driving technology transfer and thus economic growth, innovation as well as the social and technological progress. So far, the variation in relative KTO performance has only been explained at the macro level by environmental and institutional variables and surprisingly scant attention has been paid to micro dynamics and behavioral aspects taking place within KTOs. Our study uses qualitative data from successful KTOs of three Italian Universities to examine the motivations of KTO personnel and their antecedents. Based on the self-determination theory we link the three basic needs (relatedness, competence and autonomy) that underlie intrinsic motivation to its institutional and organizational antecedents. We show how university governments can address the satisfaction of the need for autonomy by adjusting public body regulations according to the hybrid demands of KTO. On the other hand, organizational antecedents are more valuable to address the need for competence and relatedness.