Necessity spin-offs are organized by employees of incumbent firms to escape deteriorating job conditions. This paper proposes a conceptual model of the spin-off process. Necessity spin-offs are distinguished from opportunity spin-offs on the basis of their triggering events. An empirical analysis of German laser spin-offs traces differences in the performance and determinants of the two types of spin-offs. Necessity spin-offs are important to limit the devaluation of individual competences by the market process. They are particularly relevant in growth crises of innovative firms, and in the restructuring of economies with protected or state-owned companies.
Spin-offs necessity entrepreneurship opportunity discovery market process laser industry