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Crystallizing the nexus of network content, structure, and behaviour in university-business open innovation research collaborations built for new product development

SCOTT, STEPHANIE,ANN (2017) Crystallizing the nexus of network content, structure, and behaviour in university-business open innovation research collaborations built for new product development. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis examines the relational complexities of university-business open innovation networks built for new product development. Through applying network inter-organizational theory, it aims to understand how this relationship type can be developed and managed to create new knowledge and produce mutually beneficial outcomes. This topic is important, as governmental bodies around the globe have developed policy initiatives that encourage universities to play a more significant role within the national innovation landscape, insomuch that collaboration might result in the commercialization of academic research and scientific knowledge and further enhance economic growth and competitiveness within many industries. However, the university-business open innovation literature remains fragmented, and often portrays this relationship type as merely a link to knowledge access or financial resources with little attention given to the complex relational issues that surround the alignment of such diverse partners. This often overlooks the social elements of knowledge generation and the process of innovation emergence which implicates the route value creation (or lack thereof) between affiliated parties.

This thesis posits that value creation, within this relational type, is reliant upon the development, management, and strategic coordination of both externally and internally held social capital stocks. Through examining the functioning of an existing collaborative partnership between a university and a business, utilizing a mixed method social network analysis, light was made on the dynamic nature of how the relationship developed over time, the depth of interaction between partners, and how the actors within the network were organized for knowledge sharing. The analysis provides a greater understanding of the role relational context play on the flows of communication and the emergence of innovative outputs emerge. The main findings of this thesis are that the coupled process of open innovation relationships universities and business relationships require the capability to adapt and engage with the external environment to ensure sustainability. It also finds that contractual mechanisms only enable collaboration to a degree, but are most effective when informal interactions are fostered and, thus, concludes that the effectiveness of value creation might be contingent on local conditions.
The findings of this thesis emphasize the risks of standardized approaches to manage encourage university-business collaborations, and provides guidance to managers and policymakers into the nature of these relationships post-award, insomuch that might effectively structure; as well as anticipate transitions and design elements of the relational exchange. It, thereby, provides a richer theory of university-business collaboration, and contributes to the open innovation literature.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Open Innovation, Inter-Organizational Relationships, New Product Development, Social Capital, Network Theory, Resource Dependency Theory
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Economics, Finance and Business, School of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 Mar 2017 11:35

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