Knowledge specialization

In his research, Marc Junkunc has focused on innovation and entrepreneurship and has published articles on venture capital, founders, initial public offerings, alliances, science-based industries, board governance, patents, and developing country entrepreneurship.

In recent projects, he examined the role of knowledge specialization in the market.

“Adam Smith, the father of economics, wrote about the 'division of labor,' but today what we have is a 'division of knowledge': we are knowledge workers and become specialists in the knowledge we have, be it market knowledge, technical knowledge, or knowledge of a particular place, person, or process.”

Specialized knowledge can allow entrepreneurial individuals to see the next breakthrough and put together a compelling venture, Junkunc says.

“My research has shown that where the firm has a higher degree of specialized knowledge, the founder and early investors have a more difficult time gaining liquidity or exiting the firm when it goes public.”

Such firms are so dependent on their founders' ability to oversee and manage the knowledge toward innovation and value creation, he says, “that the market mechanisms in place won't let founders cash out right away in an IPO — investors don't want founders to be less motivated to continue performing well towards enhancing shareholder value.”

This issue will be increasingly common in an economy that is becoming more and more dependent on technology and other knowledge-based innovations, he says. “The effects are profound in industries like biotechnology and the like, but my research showed the phenomena is true across all companies that go public, and is increasing over time.”

Junkunc has presented his research at national and international conferences and published in leading journals, including Management Science, Journal of Management, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Journal of Business Venturing, and Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice.

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