Temporal Flow of Technology Transfer Capability: beyond the lifecycle
The research problem was expressed in a question format as follows: how does technology transfer capacity behave over time in Brazilian public Higher Education Institutions? The main objective of the research was to analyze the behavior of technology transfer capacity over time in Brazilian public HEIs. It was assumed that technology transfer can be understood as a dynamic capability. The extended case method was adopted in two national institutions of reference in technology transfer management. Interviews, observations and document analysis were the main techniques for data collection. In all, nine members of the researched institutions were interviewed who worked directly in technology transfer contracts. In addition, 112 documents were accessed, such as processes, virtual pages, contracts, confidentiality terms, official letters, and memoranda, all of which were related to technology transfer. The analysis also took place through the techniques of the extended case method. The collection and analysis cycle was interspersed with that of theoretical confrontation, provoking a new succession of access to sources and the consequent confirmations, adjustments and analyzes until stabilization or a kind of redundancy. Thus, the theory served for the elaboration and conduction of observations, interviews and documentary selections. After the first data were collected, the theory was revisited to assess the need to collect more data. This procedure occurred cyclically until reaching the limit of possible evidence identifiable in the empirical process about to with concerning to the overcoming of the existing theory. It was evidenced that the behavior of a capacity, during its existence, may not obey a linear curve, but rather vary along different stages and undergo different mutations. It is concluded that the life cycle of a capability would not be exactly equivalent or limited to the heuristic of a biological life cycle endowed with predictable entropy until total collapse. Differently from that, considering the environment and the conjuncture, a capacity can come back into existence as long as it is understood as opportune and feasible. The findings advance the understanding of the technology transfer process, which now has the explanatory potential of dynamic capabilities.