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A framework of accelerator design: harmonizing fragmented knowledge

  • Purpose The purpose of this article is to develop an integrative framework of accelerator design to answer the question of what activities accelerators perform and how they function within a structured framework. Research on the functioning of accelerators as a mechanism for startup engagement produced multiple empirical results. However, the comparability of relevant research is strongly limited, currently hindering theoretical developments. Existing accelerator design models often differ and only partially overlap, which leaves extant literature with a fragmented and discordant conceptual understanding. Design/methodology/approach Based on a meta-synthesis method using qualitative analysis of 36 accelerator design articles, an integrative framework is developed. After identification of relevant literature, a renowned method for extracting, coding and synthesizing data on individual and cross-study level is applied to identify accelerator design constructs. Eventually, identified accelerator design constructs are integrated into a framework resting on the activity system lens of business model design. Findings The article reconciles fragmented knowledge on accelerator design and shows how accelerator design can be holistically conceptualized by 32 key activities clustered in eight design dimensions. The framework is complemented by an initial guideline for measurement. The findings further highlight formerly disregarded aspects of governance and community formation from a processual and structural perspective. Originality/value This article is the first to present a comprehensive picture of accelerator design integrating multiple empirical findings of prior research into a single coherent framework. This framework offers a shared foundation for future research exploring the delineations, functioning and impact of accelerators. From a practical perspective, the article provides managers of accelerators a guide to design, review and improve programs according to their value creation goals.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Alexander Kramer, Philipp Veit, Dominik K. KanbachORCiD, Stephan Stubner, Thomas K. Maran
Chairs and Professorships:Chair of Strategic Management and Digital Entrepreneurship
Chair of Strategic Entrepreneurship
Parent Title (English):European Journal of Innovation Management
Date of Publication (online):2023/05/04
Date of first Publication:2023/05/04
Tag:Accelerator design; Accelerator measurement; Activity system; Business model design; Conceptual framework
Content Focus:Academic Audience
Peer Reviewed:Yes
Rankings:AJG Ranking / 1
VHB Ranking / C
SJR Ranking / Q1
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich gesch├╝tzt