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Managing collaborative ideation:: The role of formal and informal appropriability mechanisms
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering. Luleå University of Technology. (Entrepreneurship & Innovation)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1390-1820
(English)In: International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, ISSN 1368-275X, E-ISSN 1741-5098Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Collaborative ideation is a key practice for innovation. Implementing suitable appropriability mechanisms during this collaborative ideation is a necessary yet difficult task. This difficulty owes to a high level of uncertainty and low level of codification because partners work on loosely defined concepts that may change during the collaboration. Firms can employ several appropriability mechanisms to protect their knowledge. Examples include patents, copyright, legal agreements, document management, lead time, secrecy and complexity. However, the best time to apply each mechanism remains unclear, and few empirical studies have explored this issue. This study is based on exploratory case studies of three manufacturing firms. The goal is to identify which appropriability mechanisms are pertinent at each phase of collaborative ideation and how they influence the effectiveness of protection. The results of the analysis lead to the development of a model describing the managerial practices that influence the effectiveness of protection. The results also lead to a set of research propositions to define when each appropriability mechanism is most likely to be used. Overall, this research contributes to the discussion of how to integrate formal and informal appropriability mechanisms for safe collaborative ideation. The paper concludes by discussing theoretical and managerial implications as well as directions for future research.

National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-68481OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-68481DiVA, id: diva2:1200319
Available from: 2018-04-24 Created: 2018-04-24 Last updated: 2018-05-15
In thesis
1. Managing the Collaborative Front End of Innovation in Manufacturing Firms: Requirements, Capabilities, and Conditions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managing the Collaborative Front End of Innovation in Manufacturing Firms: Requirements, Capabilities, and Conditions
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Ledning av samarbeten vid innovation i tidigafaser : Förutsättningar, förmågor och implikationer
Abstract [en]

The front end of innovation is critical to innovative efforts in firms yet it remains to be poorly understood. This especially important since innovation efforts in the front end are becoming increasingly open in line with the era of open innovation. Although the literature on the front end of innovation is well developed, prior studies have largely focused on bilateral agreements and have overlooked conditions for collaborations with science-based partners (universities and research institutes). This is especially true for manufacturing firms, for which a continuous stream of new product ideas are a key source of competitiveness. To make things worse, the front end of innovation in this setting is often characterized by incongruent practices by partners, different magnitudes of fuzziness, and high risks in revealing new ideas. Developing new product definitions with different partners is thus a risky endeavor that may seriously compromise competitive advantages if mishandled. Therefore, there is a need for greater knowledge to facilitate the collaborative front end with different types of partners. Accordingly, the purpose of this dissertation is to understand how to manage the collaborative front end in manufacturing firms, with a particular focus on requirements, capabilities, and conditions.

To fulfill this research purpose, data on manufacturing firms were collected through four case studies and one survey. In total, this dissertation is based on empirical data from 81 interviews with R&D members across 10 medium-sized and large manufacturing firms, as well as a survey of 146 small and medium-sized manufacturing firms. Respondents were based in Brazil or Sweden. The key theories and literatures covered in this dissertation include coordination modes, control mechanisms, organizational routines, the resource-based view, and appropriability mechanisms.

This dissertation makes numerous theoretical contributions to the front-end literature. First, it extends the front-end literature by presenting the concepts of systematic idea generation and fuzziness assessment as a prerequisite for improving front-end performance. Second, this dissertation extends the front-end literature by listing the collaboration conditions that help firms cooperate with science-based partners. By collaborating with science-based partners, firms can access (unpublished) codified and tacit scientific knowledge, enabling them to rapidly build on the latest research findings. The findings suggest particular practices that can be applied to reduce cultural differences and diminish goal divergence among project members. Third, the findings in this dissertation enrich the front-end literature by describing a set of detailed practices to streamline the involvement of different types of partners using diverse protective practices. Fourth, it suggests a theoretical framework that describes how to manage the collaborative front end of innovation. The theoretical framework explains how manufacturing firms can use their organizational capabilities to develop new product ideas efficiently and safely. In particular, the framework discerns the capabilities that are necessary to explore mechanisms, practices, and routines in terms of divergent thinking, external expertise, and multiple opinions. Altogether, these contributions assist firms to better manage collaborative front end. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2018. p. 250
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
National Category
Business Administration Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-68732 (URN)978-91-7790-152-5 (ISBN)978-91-7790-153-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-06-19, A109, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-05-16 Created: 2018-05-15 Last updated: 2018-05-28Bibliographically approved

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