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Session Overview
Location: Amphi Sauvy
Date: Wednesday, 19/Jun/2019
8:30am - 10:00am19-AM-02: ST9.4 - Freedom in Organisations: Myths and Realities
Session Chair: Matthieu Battistelli, Ecole Polytechnique
Session Chair: Patrick GILBERT, Sorbonne Business School (IAE), University Paris 1
Session Chair: Nathalie RAULET-CROSET, Sorbonne Business School (IAE), University Paris 1
Session Chair: Ann Teglborg, ESCP Europe
Amphi Sauvy 

Liberated Companies: Are they more socially responsible? A quasi experiment in a partially liberated firm

Caroline Mattelin Pierrard

University Savoie Mont Blanc - IREGE, France


Hiring a “Chief Happiness Officer” or measuring employees’ satisfaction at work are typical initiatives taken by liberated companies. They reflect companies’ desire to expand their responsibilities and meet stakeholder expectations, especially social ones (Gilbert, Raulet-Croset, & Teglborg, 2018). However, it remains unclear whether liberated companies are more socially responsible.


Employees take a prominent stakeholder position in the most commonly used definition of liberated companies as an “organizational form in which employees have complete freedom and responsibility to take actions that they, not their managers, decide are best” (Getz, 2009, p. 34). These companies engage in a set of distinctive practices (Picard, 2015), most of which are dedicated to employees, such as active participation in decision-making or the right to make mistakes (Gilbert et al., 2017). However, both organizational and individual outcomes for employees are still debated, some authors stressing a possible “dark side” (Picard & Islam, 2019). While employees should be key beneficiaries of liberated companies (Picard, 2015), results from existing empirical studies do not reach a consensus. While some studies report increased satisfaction of employees (Getz, 2009) or improvement in well-being (Ramboarison-Lalao & Gannouni, 2018), others suggest a resulting increase in employee turnover.

Literature Gap

We extend Clarkson’s Corporate Social Performance (CSP) model (1995) to establish this missing link between liberated managerial practices and social performance. Moreover, by focusing on stakeholder expectations, social performance can be measured through employee satisfaction, critical for organizational survival.

Research Questions

This paper seeks to examine whether liberated companies are more socially responsible than non-liberated companies, and if so, which managerial practices can foster this social performance.


We use a quasi-experimental quantitative study to compare the effect of managerial practices on social performance in the case of a liberated unit versus a non-liberated unit. We chose to conduct this study within the same French industrial company in order to control for external and internal contingencies. The managerial practices for liberated companies are derived from the literature and validated by interviews with experts. Social performance is captured by subjective measures in terms of perceptions (Clarkson, 1995).

Empirical Material

Nine experts were interviewed using semi-structured interviews that reveal six main managerial practices typical of liberated companies as seen in the literature: (1) the right to make mistakes, (2) personalized support, (3) self-managing work teams, (4) practices promoting autonomy and accountability, (5) information transparency and (6) participative decision-making practices. Then, 50 employees in the “non-liberated” unit and 59 in the “liberated” unit were surveyed (i.e. 109 employees of a total 144). The questionnaire has three parts. First, employees indicated how frequently they used the six managerial practices. Second, they rated the social performance of their unit on four measures (working conditions, loyalty, happiness and satisfaction at work). Third, they provided information on contextual variables including their unit affiliation and their perception of pressure from clients (a preliminary interview with the chief executive reveals that the non-liberated unit is subject to more client pressure).

We used linear regression to identify the effects of managerial practices on social performance. The model includes a dependant variable for social performance that aggregates the four measures, the six managerial practices as independent variables and two control variables. The first control variable tells whether the unit is liberated, and the second variable captures client pressure.


The results are twofold. First, descriptive statistics (t-test) show a significant difference between the “liberated” and “non-liberated” units regarding managerial practices (except the right to make mistakes) and social performance. Secondly, we run a regression analysis to examine the link between managerial practices and social performance, all else being equal. Results show that (1) liberated companies are more socially responsible than are non-liberated. These results are consistent with those of Colle et al. (2017) and Ramboarison-Lalao & Gannouni (2018), whose qualitative studies find beneficial effects of liberated companies on employees. (2) The results also reveal that four managerial practices have a significant and positive effect on social performance (personalized support, right to make mistakes, self-managing work teams and participative decision-making). According to the literature, these managerial practices influencing social performance are those that best characterize liberated companies. For example, if employees are encouraged to participate in decision-making, they need to know that their mistakes are not systematically penalized but result in support and training. This last result indicates that liberated companies not only authorize employee action but “enable” it (Adler & Borys, 1996). This internal consistency is a characteristic of liberated companies (Mattelin Pierrard et al., 2018).

Contribution to Scholarship

This study provides preliminary empirical evidence of the effects of liberated companies on social performance, which is still a subject for debate in the literature. It also contributes to the CSP literature due to its extension of Clarkson’s model (1995) as we focus on managerial practices related to employees. The managerial dimension of CSP still receives little attention, and the link with the model’s outcome dimension remains underexplored (Jamali, 2008; Bourgel, 2018). Moreover, empirical studies on social dimensions remain scare compared to economic and environmental studies (Delmas & Pekovic, 2018).

Contribution to Practice

This study provides empirical evidence on the effects of liberated companies on social performance, which represents a key managerial concern (Anact, 2015; Chabanet et al., 2017). While an increasing number of managers are interested in liberated companies, to initiate or enable “liberation”, they need to know its potential effects. Using Clarkson’s model, this work is meant to be comprehensible for practitioners since stakeholder approaches are recognized to be “easy to grasp by managers as most firms understand and define obligations and responsibilities vis-a-vis their traditional stakeholders” (Jamali, 2008, p. 229).


This paper perfectly fits into “Track 9.4 - Freedom in organisations: myths and realities” as it deals with one of the suggested topics related to the effects of liberated companies on social performance.


Adler, P. S., & Borys, B. (1996). Two Types of Bureaucracy: Enabling and Coercive. Administrative Science Quarterly, 41(1), 61.

Anact. (2015). Synthèse documentaire sur l’entreprise libérée (p. 25).

Bourgel, B. (2018). Le management de la performance sociétale des stations de montagne : une approche par les parties prenantes. Grenoble Alpes.

Chabanet, D., Colle, R., Corbett-Etchevers, I., Defélix, C., Perea, C., & Richard, D. (2017). Il était une fois les entreprises « libérées » : de la généalogie d’un modèle à l’identification de ses conditions de développement, Liberated companies : from the genealogy of a model to the identification of its conditions of development. Question(s) de management, (19), 55–65.

Clarkson, M. E. (1995). A stakeholder framework for analyzing and evaluating corporate social performance. Academy of Management Review, 20(1), 92–117.

Colle, R., Corbett-Etchevers, I., Defélix, C., Perea, C., & Richard, D. (2017). Innovation et qualité de vie au travail : les entreprises « libérées » tiennent-elles leurs promesses ? Management & Avenir, (93), 161–183.

Delmas, M. A., & Pekovic, S. (2018). Organizational Configurations for Sustainability and Employee Productivity: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis Approach. Business & Society, 57(1), 216–251.

Getz, I. (2009). Liberating leadership: how the initiative-freeing radical organizational form has been successfully adopted. California Management Review, 51(4), 32–58.

Gilbert, P., Teglborg, A.-C., & Raulet-Croset, N. (2017). L’entreprise libérée, innovation radicale ou simple avatar du management participatif ? Annales des Mines - Gérer et comprendre, (127), 38–49.

Gilbert, P., Raulet-Croset, N., & Teglborg, A.-C. (2018). How the Materialization of a Managerial Model Contributes to its Take Up: The Case of ‘Liberating Management’ in France. In N. Mitev, A. Morgan-Thomas, P. Lorino, F.-X. De Vaujany, & Y. Nama (Eds.), Materiality and Managerial Techniques (pp. 281–305). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Jamali, D. (2008). A Stakeholder Approach to Corporate Social Responsibility: A Fresh Perspective into Theory and Practice. Journal of Business Ethics, 82(1), 213–231.

Mattelin Pierrard, C., Bocquet, R., & Dubouloz, S. (2018). L’entreprise libérée : quelle(s) nouveauté(s) ? Une revue systématique de la littérature. In 27ème congrès de l’Association Internationale de Management Stratégique (AIMS).

Picard, H. (2015). « Entreprises libérées », parole libérée ? Lectures critiques de la participation comme projet managérial émancipateur. Paris 9.

Picard, H., & Islam, G. (2019). ‘Free to Do What I Want’? Exploring the ambivalent effects of liberating leadership. Organization Studies.

Ramboarison-Lalao, L., & Gannouni, K. (2018). Liberated firm, a leverage of well-being and technological change? A prospective study based on the scenario method. Technological Forecasting and Social Change.

The Diversity Behind Freedom-Form Companies : Eight Case Studies on Empowerment and Accountability in the Workplace

Anne-Sophie Dubey, Charles de Lastic, Thierry Weil

Mines ParisTech, France


To do justice to the complexity and diversity that lie behind the umbrella term of ‘freedom-form companies’ (Carney & Getz, 2009), the present study examines in depth how ten companies have reshaped their work organisation in order to give their employees more autonomy and responsibility.


The concept of ‘freedom-form companies’ is widely discussed in the literature on empowerment and accountability at the workplace (Peters, 1992; Carney & Getz, 2009; Laloux, 2014). Many critiques have been levelled against it (Verrier & Bourgeois, 2016; Brière, 2017; d'Iribarne, 2017; Gilbert et al., 2017).

Literature Gap

A great deal of research either offers single-case studies or compares several companies with a narrow focus. The present study intends to address this gap by being more systematic: the same analytical framework (a questionnaire comprising 37 items) is applied to ten case studies.

Research Questions

We aim to cast some light on the practices implemented to promote autonomy and responsibility at the workplace, thereby better defining the scope, the context and the limits of subsidiarity. Our study also focuses on the difficulties encountered, along with the procedures needed to overcome them.


• Ten employees from various backgrounds and hierarchical positions are interviewed per case study. A confidential report is submitted to each interviewee for content validation.

• Each case study follows the same analytical framework (37 items). Any cues that could reveal the interviewees’ identity are omitted. The company can suggest edits before the results are published (only suggestions that are consistent with the collected data are taken into account). In case of a major disagreement, the case study may be published anonymously or not published at all.

• The main findings will be discussed in a final report (May 2019).

Empirical Material

In order to account for the diversity of ‘freedom-form companies’, our sample includes a wide variety of business types and sizes: two public administrations, two cooperative corporations, three SMBs and three departments of large companies (an insurance company, a telco and an energy provider) were selected.


We are still collecting and processing the data for the last case studies. However, our final results will be available by the end of May. The case studies completed so far suggest there are significant differences along the following variables: objectives of the transformation, attitude of its proponent(s), chronology of events, actors and roles, scope and limits of subsidiarity, benefits and difficulties encountered, exercise of authority and organisational changes.

Contribution to Scholarship

The present study should lay down the groundwork for a typology of ‘freedom-form companies’. Our sample is by no means large enough for us to tackle this immense task on our own. However, the variety of business types and sizes covered in this study should enable us to pinpoint the main variables of ‘freedom-form companies’. Fine-tuning could then be done by further research.

Contribution to Practice

Our hope is that the present study will provide guidance to companies that wish to rethink their organisation and empower their employees. We are building a platform to assist them in adopting practices informed by the successes and failures of others who undertook similar efforts.


The literature often claims that ‘freedom-form companies’ are a major organisational innovation. Our main motivation is to emphasise the diversity that lurks behind this blanket term and debunk some of the myths surrounding it.


Literature cited in the abstract:

• Brière, T. (2017). Les expériences de libération sous contrôle : réflexions sur une nouvelle velléité de démocratie dans l’entreprise. Revue internationale de psychosociologie et de gestion des comportements organisationnels (RIPCO), XXIII(56). 265-279.

• Carney, B., & Getz, I. (2009). Freedom Inc. : Free Your Employees and Let Them Lead Your Business to Higher Productivity, Profit and Growth. New York: Crown Business.

• Gilbert, P., Teglborg, A.-C., & Raulet-Croset, N. (2017). L’entreprise libérée, innovation radicale ou simple avatar du management participatif ?. Gérer et comprendre, (127). 38-49.

• d’Iribarne, A. (2017). L’entreprise libérée et les talents : un avènement annoncé ?. Revue internationale de psychosociologie et de gestion des comportements organisationnels (RIPCO), XXIII(56). 247-260.

• Laloux, R. (2014). Reinventing Organizations : A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness. Brussels: Nelson Parker.

• Peters, T. J. (1992). Liberation Management: Necessary Disorganization for the Nanosecond Nineties. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

• Verrier, G., & Bourgeois, N. (2016). Faut-il libérer l’entreprise ? Confiance, responsabilité et autonomie au travail. Paris : Dunod.

Literature not cited in the abstract:

• Aubert, N., & de Gaulejac, V. (1991). Le coût de l’excellence. Paris : Seuil.

• Berry, M. (1983). Une technologie invisible - L’impact des instruments de gestion sur l’évolution des systèmes humains. CRG-1133, (485). Cahier du laboratoire, classification JEL : L20.

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• Bourdu, E., Pérétié, M.M, & Richer, M. (2016). La qualité de vie au travail, un levier de compétitivité. Note de La Fabrique de l’industrie. Paris : Presses des Mines.

• Clot, Y., & Lallement, M. (2015). Qualité de vie au travail, qualité du travail. La revue des conditions de travail, (3). 45-53.

• Coase, R. (1937). The Nature of the Firm. Economica, 4(16). 386–405.

• Collectif des Mécréants. (2015). Entreprise Libérée la fin de l’illusion. Retrieved from

• Cyert, R.M., & March, J. B. (1963). A Behavioral Theory of the Firm. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

• Demailly, L. (2011). Les nouveaux managements et la question de l’autonomie professionnelle. L’information psychiatrique, 87(6). 467-474.

• Denis, J.-L., Langley, A., & Sergi, V. (2012). Leadership in the Plural. Academy of management annals, 6(1). 211-283.

• Diamond, J. (2005). Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fall or Suceed. New York: Penguin Books.

• Dorel, M. (2014). Le management libéré. Toulouse : Editions HJ.

• Druon, E. (2015). Le syndrome du poisson-lune, manifeste d’antimanagement. Paris : Actes Sud.

• Dumez, H. (2009). Qu’est-ce qu’un dispositif ? Agamben, Foucault et Irénée de Lyon dans leurs rapports avec la gestion. Le libellio d’Aegis, 5(3). 34-39. Le libellio d’Aegis, vol 5, n°3, 34-39

• Fauvet, J.-C., & Bühler, N. (1994). La sociodynamique de changement. Paris : Editions d’organisation.

• Friedmann, G. (1964). Le travail en miettes. Paris : Gallimard.

• Glucksmann, A. (1977). Les maîtres penseurs. Paris : Grasset.

• Roblin, L. (2013). Pierre-Yves Gomez, Le travail invisible. Enquête sur une disparition. Paris : Editions François Bourin.

• Granovetter, M. (1985). Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology, 91(3). 481-510.

• Hamel, G. (2011). First, Let’s Fire All the Managers. Harvard Business Review, 89(12). 48-60.

• Hamel, G. (2012). Ce qui compte vraiment : les cinq défis pour l’entreprise : valeurs, innovation, adaptabilité, passion, idéologie. Paris : Eyrolles

• Hervé, M., d’Iribarne, A., & Bourguinat, E. (2007a). De la pyramide aux réseaux. Récits d’une expérience de démocratie participative. Paris : Editions Autrement.

• Hervé, M., & Brière, T. (2011b). Le pouvoir au-delà du pouvoir : l’exigence de démocratie dans toute organisation. Paris : Editions François Bourin.

• Hervé, M. (2015c). Une nouvelle ère, sortir de la culture du chef. Paris : Editions François Bourin.

• Howard, R. (1986). Brave New Workplace. New York: Penguin Books.

• Jochem, J., &. Lefebvre, H. (2014), Le mix organisation. Et si l’entreprise mobilisait enfin l’énergie naturelle de l’autonomie ? Paris : Eyrolles.

• von Kleist, H. (1810). The Prince of Homburg. (n.p.)

• March, J.G., & Simon, H.A. (1958a). Organizations. Hoboken: Wiley.

• March, J.G. (1978b). Bounded Rationality, Ambiguity, and the Engineering of Choice. The Bell Journal of Economics, 9(2). 587-608.

• March, J.G. (1980c). Autonomy as a Factor in Group Organization: A Study in Politics. New York: Arno Press. (Original work published 1953).

• March, J.G., & Olsen, J.P. (1989d). Rediscovering Institutions: The Organizational Basis of Politics. New York: Free Press/McMillan.

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Philosophical roots of freedom and management

Nathalie Raulet-Croset1, Patrick Gilbert2, Ann Teglborg1,2

1IAE de Paris; 2ESCP Europe


In the land of Rousseau and Sartre, an increasing number of French companies are aspiring to develop alternative workplaces based on the underlying principle of individual and collective freedoms.


Based on the analysis of cases of such alternative workplaces, Getz coined the notion of "Freedom-form" (Carney & Getz, 2009; Getz, 2009). In order to “liberate” employees, organisations are redesigned by flattening out hierarchies, subordinating their functional staff to operational staff and, insofar as possible, replacing formalization by mutual adjustment among employees. It is claimed that this leads to increased empowerment and develops the autonomy of teams. Furthermore, the workforce’s intelligence is mobilised through participation in the decision-making process and a collective involvement in seeking out new opportunities and developing innovations.

These freedom-form organisations strike a particularly strong chord in France, where freedom (or liberty) is part of the national motto: “Liberty – Equality – Fraternity” (liberté-égalité-fraternité). Nevertheless, little thought has been given to what freedom in organisations actually means.

Literature Gap

The nascent literature on these freedom forms does not define what freedom actually means in the context of freedom-form organisations. Therefore, it is no surprise that freedom remains a nebulous notion in the realm of companies experimenting with these work practices.

Research Questions

In this paper, we set out to analyse the extent to which the notion of freedom has taken on different meanings and examine how they relate to different philosophical traditions.


We explore the different forms of freedom encountered in freedom-form organisations by analysing three case studies on which the paper is based.

Empirical Material

The first of these studies concerns Favi, a firm that, over a twenty-five year period, has developed a freedom-form management model that is considered to be an inspiration in this field. The second concerns Poult, whose management model is clearly inspired by the Favi model, and the third case study relates to Chronoflex, an industrial flexible hose maintenance service company which has more recently begun the transition toward the freedom-form model.


In this paper, we set out to analyse the extent to which the notion of freedom has taken on different meanings and examine how they relate to different philosophical traditions. Therefore, we start by discussing the philosophical foundations of freedom by focusing on five different conceptions of freedom developed in the philosophical tradition: (1) freedom as the absence of impediments; (2) total individual freedom; (3) freedom limited by laws; (4) freedom as non-dominance; (5) freedom through being one’s own master. Secondly, we explore the different forms of freedom encountered in freedom-form organisations by analysing three case studies on which the paper is based. Based on those data, we present five modes of existence for freedom, reflecting different conceptions of freedom in the different social equations analysed in the three case studies.

Contribution to Scholarship

In this article, we have addressed the question of whether freedom-form organisations share the same vision of freedom. Focusing strictly on Getz (2009), his definition refers to ‘complete freedom’ what is related to the second conception of freedom developed in this article. Our research reveals a far more complex picture of freedom in the workplace; indeed, we were able to isolate five different visions of freedom.

Contribution to Practice

The use of philosophical approaches to deepen our understanding of specific management issues is beginning to gain ground in organisational science. Indeed, it can be used to provide executive directors and HR managers with a deeper understanding of organisational changes. We believe that it is particularly useful in analysing what are referred to as freedom-form organisations.


The paper address directly the topic of freedom in organisations.


Arendt, H. (1972) “Qu’est-ce que la liberté ?”, La Crise de la culture, Paris: Gallimard.

Berlin, I. (1969) “Two Concepts of Liberty”, Four Essays on Liberty, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press., pp. 953-978.

Carney, B. M., & Getz, I. (2009). Freedom, Inc.: Free your employees and let them lead your business to higher productivity, profits, and growth. Crown Business.

Getz, I. (2009) “Liberating Leadership: How the Initiative-Freeing Radical Organizational Form has been Successfully Adopted.” California Management Review. 51/4 (Summer 2009), pp. 32-58

Free-form organization: self-management or another avatar of organizational control? An exploratory study

Yuewu DUAN, Patrick GILBERT

IAE Sorbonne, France


“Free-form organization” is a fashionable topic making headlines in business newspapers and magazines for several years while very few empirical studies investigate it. It’s reported that in liberated firms, the formal hierarchy symbols are barely visible: reserved parking for senior managers, ranks, titles and formal controls are removed.


The literature on “Free-form organization” is essentially proselytical: Getz (1992) insists on the individual freedom based on the self-determination behavior theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000); as well as “liberation management” by Peters (1992).

Nevertheless, there is a literature on post-bureaucratic organizations that can be a source of inspiration (Maravelias, 2003; Hogdson 2004; Fleming et Sturdy, 2009).

Literature Gap

Getz insists on the individual freedom based on the self-determination behavior theory, but he keeps silent on this important question: How individuals attain this self-determination? Very few empirical studies have investigated the question of How individuals are “liberated” in “free-form organization” literature.

Research Questions

This paper aims to explore "Free-form organization" by answering two interrelated questions: what are the new forms of control in “free-form organizations” and how they take place. The answer to these two questions will also contribute to the debate around the question if this management fashion is a real managerial innovation.


It is a qualitative case study based on an auto-ethnographical fieldwork conducted by one of the authors in a commercial organization undertaking the “liberation”, from the beginning of 2018 to spring 2019. The research is performed in a configuration “doing research on living liberation”, that is, the researcher has played two roles simultaneously: full-time Finance Director of case organization and part-time opportunist but reflexive researcher. This empirical approach is inspired by methodological implication of practice turn in strategy which requests simply: “Doing Research on doing strategy”. (Johnson, Langley, Melin & Whittington, 2007)

Empirical Material

The case organization is a subsidiary of a large French industrial group which is its sole shareholder and its core business is ground passenger transport between France and Italy. Its staff is less than 50 people located either in Italy or in France. At the end of 2016, its General Director and the Human Resource Director decided to launch the “liberated organization” and obtained the approval of the Board.

Consistent with the research configuration “doing research on living the liberation” and thanks to the privileged position occupied by the researcher who is not only a native insider but also a member of the executive committee of the case organization, the empirical data is constituted of 12 fieldwork diaries triangulated by15 emails, 20 internal documents in Word, PowerPoint or Excel including several presentations to the Board and the several records of the Board meeting.


This paper reveals that in order to "liberate" the employees, the management team of the case organization makes use of several psychological techniques with the assistance of external consultants. Firstly, a personality test is offered to all employee who accepts it voluntarily. Afterwards, several seminars “become manager-coach” are organized in order to train employees to the coaching techniques stemming from the humanist psychology which was born in the fifties in the USA, in particular that of Carl Rogers and Will Schutz.

The use of these techniques aims to implement some new forms of control based on self-management, whereas the existing hierarchical and bureaucratic controls persist.

The implementation of these techniques of management of the self (Foucault, 2005; Brunel, 2004) is not problem-free in this organization. For example, the majority of French employees simply refused to resume the seminar after they practiced the first exercise during which the instructor asked them to “open the mind, the heart and the guts”, and to “lay yourself bare”. Also, some managers just went backwards after they realized the risks of legal consequences for them when the General Manager tried to “liberate” them by granting them the delegation of authority.

Contribution to Scholarship

Our paper is one of the few empirical studies investigating this management fashion “free-form organization”. Contrary to what its proponents claim, the empirical evidence from our research unveils that the free-form organization is far from being control-free since the “new” forms of control are replacing the hierarchical and bureaucratical controls which persist, instead of disappearing completely. Additionally, these “new” forms of control are not really new, because they were born in the fifties.

Contribution to Practice

Our research configuration “a manager studies liberation on living liberation” helps to reduce research-practice gap. The empirical evidence and its theoretical interpretation from our research should also help managers to better understand the importance of control issue during the liberation process and to distinguish the goals from means, instead of being blinded by the tempting discourse of “freedom”.


Empirical evidence from our paper demonstrates that this free-form organization can not be considered as an organization innovation in terms of forms of control. But the co-existence of multiple forms of control observed constitutes a new specific arrangement which is a source of various tensions.


Brunel V. (2004), Les managers de l’âme : le développement personnel en entreprise, nouvelle pratique de pouvoir ? La découverte.

Deci, E.L., Ryan, R. (2000). The “What” and “Why” of Goal Pursuits: Human Needs and the Self-Determination of Behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227-268.

Fleming et Sturdy (2009). “Just be yourself!”: Towards neo‐normative control in organizations?". Employee Relations, Vol. 31 Issue: 6, 569-583.

Foucault M. (2005), The Hermeneutics of the the Subject - Lectures at the Collège of France, 1981-1982, New-York, Palgrave MacMillan.

Getz, I. (2009). Liberating leadership: how the initiative-freeing radical organizational form has been successfully adopted. California Management Review, 51:4, 32-58.

Hodgson, D. E. (2004). Project work: The legacy of bureaucratic control in the post-bureaucratic organization. Organization, 11(1), 81-100.

Johnson, G., Langley, A., Melin, L., & Whitington, R. (2007). Strategy as Practice: Research Directions and Resources. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Maravelias, C. (2003). Post-bureaucracy–control through professional freedom. Journal of Organizational Change Management 16 (5), 547-566.

Peters, T. (1992). Liberation management: Necessary disorganization for the nanosecond nineties. Alfred A. Knopf: New York.

1:00pm - 2:30pm19-PM1-02: ST9.4 - Freedom in Organisations: Myths and Realities
Session Chair: Matthieu Battistelli, Ecole Polytechnique
Session Chair: Patrick GILBERT, Sorbonne Business School (IAE), University Paris 1
Session Chair: Nathalie RAULET-CROSET, Sorbonne Business School (IAE), University Paris 1
Session Chair: Ann Teglborg, ESCP Europe
Amphi Sauvy 

How to enable leadership among self-organizing developers

Johannes Berglind Söderqvist1, Simone Spiegler2

1Chalmers University of Technology, Innovation and R&D Management; 2University of Stuttgart, Institute of Software Technology


The research focuses on large companies engaged in complex product development and how self-organizing within and between teams in these organizations can be enabled. More specifically it proposes how leadership as a distributed function (Wheelan and Johnston 1996, Crevani, Lindgren et al. 2010) can be enabled in this context.


Scholars report that product development methods known as ‘agile’ designed for a few teams that self-organize through mutual adjustment have become increasingly popular also in product development at scale both within hardware and software development (Dingsøyr, Moe et al. 2018, Rigby, Sutherland et al. 2018). As a result, many companies are transitioning their product development efforts from a hierarchical organizational design relying on direct supervision to flatter organizations that to a larger extent are based on mutual adjustment (Mintzberg 1989, Dikert, Paasivaara et al. 2016). This also entails a need to rethink the leader role from being tied to an individual leader (Crevani, Lindgren et al. 2010) to considering it as something that is contextually dependent and distributed (Alvesson and Spicer 2012).

Literature Gap

The role of enabling leadership function in self-organizing teams is established within the most common framework for self-organizing teamwork in agile development (Lindsjørn et al. 2018). However, how such roles are performed in practice in large scale product development with hundreds of interdependent teams remains unexplored (Rolland et al. 2016).

Research Questions

The research targets professionals with the role to ensure a leadership function among individuals within and between interdependent teams. Two questions are asked:

- What patterns of practices are used by professionals having such roles?

- How do these patterns of practices influence the ability to self-organize within and between interdependent teams?


To answer the research questions qualitative methodology is employed. Ethnographic data from on-site fieldwork during a year and data from semi-structured interviews are used. The data collection is carried out within two large European companies that develop complex mechatronic products. The ethnographic data collection and corresponding analysis follows the advice given by Van Maanen (1979) and the semi-structured interviews are analyzed through a grounded theory approach as described by Glaser and Strauss (2017).

Empirical Material

Each one of the authors has spent one year in one of the two companies respectively. The fieldwork is carried out with rich access to informants not only for scheduled interviews but also for coffee machine encounters and participative observation. One of the authors follows professionals who have the role of enabling leadership function in temporary constellations of developers. Developers in these constellations normally do not work together but are gathered to handle specific inter-team dependencies. The other author primarily follows professionals with the role of enabling leadership function within a specific team. Each of these teams are stable over time.

All together, in addition to the ethnographic data collection more than sixty semi-structured interviews were held both with team members and professionals with the role to enable leadership function in groups and teams.


The study clarifies practices of professionals having roles intended to enable leadership function both within teams and in temporary groups managing inter-team interdependencies. Both cases follow a contextually dependent pattern of practices ultimately aiming for the teams or groups to organize themselves therein distributing leadership among them.

The patterns of practices takes a starting point in facilitating the co-creation of a deliberate work process among members in the group and coach the group to maintain and adapt it to new circumstances. Moreover, practices also include the identification and facilitation of boundary conditions within which the need for leadership becomes clarified. On a day-to-day basis, practices are employed such as guidance and coaching to ensure that leadership is shared and excercised according to what makes most sense in a given situation. However, occasionally when the context so demands, the patterns of practices also include explicit acts of leadership, or followership, temporarily enacting the role of a member in the group or team.

By ensuring a deliberate co-created work process and clarifying the need for leadership the group attain a frame within which the appropriate distribution of leadership becomes clearer which in turn facilitates for the group to self-organize work.

Contribution to Scholarship

There is currently an ongoing scholarly discussion regarding how agile product development methods can be scaled (Rolland, Fitzgerald et al. 2016, Bick, Spohrer et al. 2017, Dingsøyr, Moe et al. 2018) to which this study contributes in clarifying the analogous functions of leadership both from an inter- and intra-team perspective and how to enable them. This also adds to the understanding of how companies can transition from bureaucratic plan-driven product development to agile approaches based on self-organization (Dikert, Paasivaara et al. 2016). Moreover, the study contributes with concrete examples for how leadership is co-created and non-hierarchical providing empirical support for such notions of leadership (Wheelan and Johnston 1996, Crevani, Lindgren et al. 2010, Blom and Alvesson 2014, Bäcklander 2018, Einola and Alvesson 2019).

Contribution to Practice

As more and more companies are transforming their plan-driven product development into agile approaches (Dikert, Paasivaara et al. 2016, Rigby, Sutherland et al. 2016, Rigby, Sutherland et al. 2018) the study can facilitate for managers fostered in hierarchical plan-driven product development organizations to better understand what forms of leadership that are needed in an organization based on self-organizing teams. Moreover, the study provides hands-on patterns of practices for how to enable such leadership function within groups and teams.


Agile product development is currently a subject of interest to R&D management scholars and practitioners (Rigby, Sutherland et al. 2016, Rigby, Sutherland et al. 2018). More specifically related to the specific track 9.4, the enabling of leadership function within and between groups facilitates self-organizing and flatter organizing at scale.


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Bick, S., et al. (2017). "Coordination Challenges in Large-Scale Software Development: A Case Study of Planning Misalignment in Hybrid Settings." IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering.

Blom, M. and M. Alvesson (2014). "Leadership On Demand: Followers as initiators and inhibitors of managerial leadership." Scandinavian Journal of Management 30(3): 344-357.

Bäcklander, G. (2018). "Doing complexity leadership theory: How agile coaches at Spotify practise enabling leadership." Creativity and Innovation Management.

Crevani, L., et al. (2010). "Leadership, not leaders: On the study of leadership as practices and interactions." Scandinavian Journal of Management 26(1): 77-86.

Dikert, K., et al. (2016). "Challenges and success factors for large-scale agile transformations: A systematic literature review." Journal of Systems and Software 119: 87-108.

Dingsøyr, T., et al. (2018). "Exploring software development at the very large-scale: a revelatory case study and research agenda for agile method adaptation." Empirical Software Engineering 23(1): 490-520.

Einola, K. and M. Alvesson (2019). "The making and unmaking of teams." Human relations: 0018726718812130.

Glaser, B. G. and A. L. Strauss (2017). Discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research, Routledge.

Lindsjørn, Y., et al. (2018). Teamwork Quality and Team Performance: Exploring Differences Between Small and Large Agile Projects. International Conference on Agile Software Development, Springer.

Mintzberg, H. (1989). The structuring of organizations. Readings in Strategic Management, Springer: 322-352.

Rigby, D. K., et al. (2018). "Agile at Scale." Harvard Business Review(May-June): 88-96.

Rigby, D. K., et al. (2016). "Embracing agile." Harvard Business Review 94(5): 40-50.

Rolland, K., et al. (2016). Problematizing agile in the large: alternative assumptions for large-scale agile development. 39th International Conference on Information Systems, Association for Information Systems (AIS).

Rolland, K. H., et al. (2016). "Problematizing agile in the large: alternative assumptions for large-scale agile development."

Van Maanen, J. (1979). "The fact of fiction in organizational ethnography." Administrative science quarterly 24(4): 539-550.

Wheelan, S. A. and F. Johnston (1996). "The role of informal member leaders in a system containing formal leaders." Small group research 27(1): 33-55.

Self-organization and human resources: towards a radical transformation of practices? An exploratory study of a set of SMEs

Matthieu Battistelli

Ecole Polytechnique, France


Self-organization models such as sociocracy or holacracy aim to establish more autonomy. The main goal is the empowerment of individuals. By distributing responsibility, the firm would become more adaptable to uncertain environment, employees would be more motivated and more involved by giving a concrete meaning to their daily actions.


In the context of SMEs, the question of the articulation between power distribution and accountability processes is quite interesting. In fact, one of the characteristics of the SME is the centralization of management around the owner of the firm, both for current operations and for strategic decisions (Carland et al., 1984, Julien, 1993). This centrality is due to the essential nature of the proximity in the management of SMEs, which would induce a principle of hierarchization (Torrès, 2015). However, SMEs are also inspired and structured according to organizational models advocating more cooperative and a-hierarchical approaches, which considerably affects the HR management (Colle, Rodolphe et al., 2017, Gilbert, Raulet-Croset, Teglborg, 2017).

Literature Gap

This apparent paradox questions how SMEs which have chosen to overcome their hierarchical structure manage human resources and structure HR processes (as recruitment, salary reassessments, participation in the results, personal development, internal communication, benefits and role assignment in the company).

Research Questions

This paper proposes to analyze the impact of holacracy on HR management on a set of SMEs: how collective and collaborative organizational models such as holacracy, which give more freedom to the employees, do they transform in depth (or even radically) the ways of dealing with human issues at work?


Our analysis is an exploratory study. It is based on a eighteen-month presence into a set of French SMEs. The main method that we used is direct observation of practices thank to a deep immersion in the daily life and in the concrete situations of work of former leaders and employees. We also conduct a serie of interviews. This work allow us to better understand the points of view and the objectives pursued by the actors.

Finally, after a description of the observed HR practices, we will seek to highlight them by confronting them with general models of self-organization.

Empirical Material

Ulterïa: a group of SMEs who have experienced holacracy

Ulterïa is made up of four SMEs, all of which have made a transition to holacratic system (Bernstein et al., 2016). Composed of approximately 130 people, the organization operates in the store layout market and offers bulk sales solutions for organic food distribution. The HR issues are rich and heterogeneous given the variety of work situations. The employees are sometimes sedentary (offices, workshops) or nomad (commercial, installers). Having decided on the transition to holacracy in April 2016, the two former leaders have gradually distributed their authority to employees in the areas of human resources. One of the major consequences of this "transfer of accountability" was the structuring of organizations into so-called "fluid" teams (Bushe and Chu, 2011), which are characterized by a rotating membership, and which collectively deal with many issues specific to different companies. We propose to devote a more detailed analysis to teams dealing with HR issues, whose particularity lies in their hybridity and their inclusiveness. In fact, these teams involve a diversity of employees (HR managers, operational employee, sales people, IT people) who collectively participate in defining structuring HR processes for the company (recruitment, salary reassessment, annual interviews).


Toward a self-organized HR practices in SME?

Our empirical study seeks to understand how, SME try to practice a principle of collective responsibility in area of human resources management. Indeed, this experiment is not problem-free for SME moving towards self-organization, especially regarding the conservation of its organizational coherence.

On the one hand, the increasing freedom of action of employees, enhancing their initiatives, risks slowing down the convergence of individuals towards long-term collective orientations. To overcome this problem, integration structures, formal and informal, appear with the function of defining and disseminating the organizational mission, or purpose (Levillain, 2017). This kind of structures seek to maintain a coherence between the direction pursued by the organization and individuals’ goals. These reflections on the organizational sense also guide and impact the management of HR issues directly from the field.

On the other hand, the emphasis on self-organized modes of operation makes more and more unbearable any arbitrary decision or so called “fait accompli”. Therefore, the process of defining HR issues systematically seeks a large consensus from employees.

Contribution to Scholarship

Our empirical study seeks to understand how SMEs attempting to adopt self-management try to build new accountability chains, which are both collective and deliberative. With this article, we expect to contribute on how SMEs may overcome its natural centrality by defining and making some self-managed techniques in the HR areas. We also show that theses techniques of sel-organization are greatly influenced by the ability of the organization to disseminate its purpose and values and to handle collective intelligence processes.

Contribution to Practice

Our empirical study aims to describe precisely how SMEs set up techniques of self-organization regarding HR issues in order to clarify fundamental characteristics of HR self-management and to relate best practices in this matter.


This research show how the extension of the domain of accountability and freedom of action for the employee lead to new way of organizing and ajustment in a more collective and deliberative way. These transformations may be a way to experiment more democracy into firms.


Bernstein E., Binch J., Canner N., Lee M. (2016), "the big idea Beyond the Holacracy Hype, Harvard Business Review, 94 (7-8), pp. 38-49.

Buck J.A , Endenburg G. (2004), La sociocratie. Les forces créatives de l'auto-organisation.

Bushe G., Chu. A (2011), « Fluid teams: Solutions to the problems of unstable team membership », Organizationnal dynamics, 60., pp. 181-188.

Carland J.W., Hoy F., Boulton W.R. et Carland J.A.C. (1984), « Differentiating Entrepreneurs from Small Business Owners: a Conceptualization », Academy of Management Review, vol. 9, n° 2,

p. 354-359.

Carney, B. M., Getz, I. (2009). Freedom, Inc.: Free your employees and let them lead your business to higher productivity, profits, and growth. Crown Business.

Colle, R., Corbett-Etchevers, I., Defélix, C., Perea, C. & Richard, D. (2017). Innovation et qualité de vie au travail : les entreprises « libérées » tiennent-elles leurs promesses ?. Management & Avenir, 93(3).

Getz, I. (2009) “Liberating Leadership: How the Initiative-Freeing Radical Organizational Form has been Successfully Adopted.” California Management Review. 51/4 (Summer 2009), pp. 32-58

Gilbert, P., Raulet-Croset, N. & Teglborg, A. (2017). « L’entreprise libérée » : analyse de la diffusion d’un modèle managérial. Revue internationale de psychosociologie et de gestion des comportements organisationnels, vol. xxiii(56), 205-224.

Julien P.A. (1993), « Small Businesses as a Research Subject: Some Reflections on Knowledge of Small Businesses and its Effects on Economic Theory », Small Business Economics, vol. 5, n° 2, p. 157-167.

Laloux F. (2015), Reinventing Organizations : Vers des communautés de travail inspirées, Diateino, Paris.

Levillain K. (2017), L’entreprise à mission. Un modèle de gouvernance pour l’innovation, Vuibert, Paris.

Robertson B. J. (2016), La révolution Holacracy. Le système de management des entreprises performantes, Alisio, Paris.

Torrès, O. (2015). Petitesse des entreprises et grossissement des effets de proximité. Revue française de gestion, 253(8), 333-352

"Freedom form" companies and creative process: evidence or paradox?

Emilie POLI

ESCP Europe, France


An alternative organizational form currently stands out for the echo it encounters in the field: the "freedom form company", popularized by the publication of Isaac Getz and Brian Carney's book in 2009 "Freedom Inc." (Carney et Getz 2009), translated in French in 2012.


The notion of “freedom-form company” was defined by Isaac Getz in his 2009 academic article published in California Management Review (Getz 2009) in which he describes “an organizational form in which employees have complete freedom and responsibility to take actions that they, not their bosses, decide are best.”

Literature about “freedom-form” companies is so far mostly oriented toward characterization (Chabanet et al. 2017; Gilbert, Raulet-Croset, et Teglborg 2017), conceptual analyses (Brière 2017; Casalegno 2017; d’Iribarne 2017), leadership style (Holtz 2017), history and novelty of the concept (Gilbert, Teglborg, et Raulet-Croset 2017), but research aiming to evaluate the promises claimed by the advocates of the concept is still scarce (Colle et al. 2017).

In their research work, Colle and his colleagues (Colle et al. 2017) question two controversial and claimed impacts: greater innovation and quality of work life, with promising results.

Literature Gap

By building on the work of Colle, we aim to further evaluate the impacts of the “freedom form”. The fundamentally social nature of the phenomenon of “freedom form” companies invites us to shift our field of observation to focus not on its impact on innovation, but on organizational creativity.

Research Questions

“What are the impacts of the “freedom form” on the organizational creativity process?”

The question is not so much to know whether “yes or no” the freedom form increases the number of new and useful ideas, as to understand how positive and negative effects compete with each other, into the creativity process.


Our research question invites to explore the interactions between the practices resulting from the freedom form and the creative process, and involves naturally a qualitative approach.

In this perspective, the theoretical framework developed by Fortwengel, based on the practice theory and particularly on structuration theory of Giddens (Fortwengel, Schüßler, et Sydow 2017), in the broader field of process studies, seems particularly promising here. This approach promotes a qualitative research, like ethnography, to observe how actors enact being creative, focusing on the process, not its outcome, as opposed to the traditional “variance based” creativity research.

Empirical Material

This qualitative work will be based on a multiple case study design, involving ethnographic observations, semi-structured interviews and documentation.

Empirical material will be collected in 3 different companies, through 4 different teams. This methodological design will allow to explore the relationship between the freedom-form and the creativity, intended as an organizational process, based on social practices (Fortwengel, Schüßler, et Sydow 2017).

A first set of data was collected in March 2019 in one of the companies mentioned above, in the field of digital innovation, for which innovation is a major strategic challenge. A week of immersion allowed us to gather 13 interviews (developers, administrators, founders, consultants), documentation, to attend 8 meetings, to observe and experience the daily life of the team within their open space.

The qualitative data collected will be coded and analyzed using NVivo software to try to highlight the key elements of their creative process, the main managerial practices and to analyze their interdependencies.

The other data sets will be collected before the summer of 2019.


The NVivo analysis of this material is about to start. A significant part of the expected results will therefore be available for the conference.

Through the results, we hope to succeed in proposing a model of the studied phenomenon, visualizing the salient mechanisms, tensions and contradictions resulting from the encounter between a new organizational form and a process that is from now a key strategic asset of companies, helping leaders and managers to foster creativity in their organization

Contribution to Scholarship

We aim to contribute to two research fields. First, research about the “freedom-form” itself. It will help to describe and to understand the specificity of this new organizational concept, through a qualitative approach, offering ethnographic description of social practices from 3 companies, considered as “liberated” from various sectors, sizes and contexts, and above all focusing on one promise: higher organizational creativity.

The second field this work can contribute to is organizational creativity research. Focusing on creativity as a process, and proposing a model, this qualitative work can provide value to process studies of organizational creativity in two ways: first the creativity phenomenon is here embedded in a new kind of structure, enacted by an innovative set of social practices: the “freedom-form” company. Second, the methodological design is appropriate to develop our understanding of the creative process itself.

Contribution to Practice

Finally, through a better understanding of the “freedom-form” itself and its impact on one of the most strategic skill for companies in our current competitive environment, that is creativity, this work will help practitioners to gain more insight about their organizational transformation.


This research work is perfectly in line with the theme n°9 of the conference, concerning organizational innovation, and in particular this special track, which focuses on the issues of freedom in organizations, by approaching it from a contemporary and radical angle: that of liberated companies.


Amabile, Teresa M. 1988. « A model of creativity and innovation in organizations ». Research in Organizational Behavior 10: 123‑67.

Anderson, Neil, Kristina Potočnik, et Jing Zhou. 2014. « Innovation and Creativity in Organizations: A State-of-the-Science Review, Prospective Commentary, and Guiding Framework ». Journal of Management 40 (5): 1297‑1333.

Brière, Thibaud. 2017. « Les expériences de libération sous contrôle. Réflexions sur une nouvelle velléité de démocratie dans l’entreprise ». Revue internationale de psychosociologie et de gestion des comportements organisationnels XXIII (56): 265‑82.

Carney, Brian M., et Isaac Getz. 2009. Freedom, Inc.: Free your employees and let them lead your business to higher productivity, profits, and growth. Crown Business.

Casalegno, Jean-Claude. 2017. « L’entreprise libérée : une mythologie de contestation pour libérer l’imaginaire dans les organisations ? » Revue internationale de psychosociologie et de gestion des comportements organisationnels XXIII (56): 225‑45.

Chabanet, Didier, Rodolphe Colle, Isabelle Corbett-Etchevers, Christian Defélix, Céline Perea, et Damien Richard. 2017. « Il était une fois les entreprises « libérées » : de la généalogie d’un modèle à l’identification de ses conditions de développement ». Question(s) de management 19 (4): 55.

Colle, Rodolphe, Isabelle Corbett-Etchevers, Christian Defélix, Céline Perea, et Damien Richard. 2017. « Innovation et qualité de vie au travail : les entreprises « libérées » tiennent-elles leurs promesses ? » Management & Avenir 93 (3): 161.

Fernez-Walch, Sandrine, et François Romon. 2013. Management de l’innovation de la stratégie aux projets. Paris: Vuibert.

Fortwengel, Johann, Elke Schüßler, et Jörg Sydow. 2017. « Studying Organizational Creativity as Process: Fluidity or Duality?: Organizational Creativity as Process ». Creativity and Innovation Management 26 (1): 5‑16.

Getz, Isaac. 2009. « Liberating leadership: how the initiative-freeing radical organizational form has been successfully adopted ». California Management Review 51 (4): 32‑58.

Gilbert, Patrick, Nathalie Raulet-Croset, et Ann-Charlotte Teglborg. 2017. « “L’entreprise libérée” : analyse de la diffusion d’un modèle managérial ». Revue internationale de psychosociologie et de gestion des comportements organisationnels XXIII (56): 205‑24.

Gilbert, Patrick, Ann-Charlotte Teglborg, et Nathalie Raulet-Croset. 2017. « L’entreprise libérée, innovation radicale ou simple avatar du management participatif ? » Annales des Mines - Gérer et comprendre 127 (1): 38‑49.

Holtz, Théo. 2017. « Mutations du leadership dans une entreprise en voie de libération ». Revue internationale de psychosociologie et de gestion des comportements organisationnels XXIII (56): 125‑40.

Iribarne, Alain d’. 2017. « L’entreprise libérée et les “talents” : un avènement annonce ? » Revue internationale de psychosociologie et de gestion des comportements organisationnels XXIII (56): 247‑64.

Organizational innovation situation analysis and search of new measurement framework

Ilona Baumane-Vitolina, Jeļena Luca

University of Latvia


In globalised world organizational innovation is one of the key factors for the development of the company and perceiving its competitiveness. Enterprises deal with the difficulty of identifying factors and elements for successful implementation of the organizational innovation.


According to a recent scientific debate, it is a challenge to find the perfect metric as organizational innovation measurement is complicated to perform. There are frameworks of measurement of organizational innovations (for example, Dominant Diamond model, Innovation Funnel, Innovation Value Chain and Oslo Manual), but they are proved to have drawbacks that makes it difficult to perform analysis.

This paper looks at different definitions and metrics of organizational innovations applicable with the system approach, coming to the conclusion that for development of effective innovation measurement it is needed to develop a conceptual framework with 5 dimensions: 1) Innovation ability and strategy; (2) Innovation Management ability; (3) Linkages and accessing knowledge; (4) Organization and culture; (5) Innovation Results.

Literature Gap

Recent studies have drawn necessity to develop a framework that will avoid disadvantages of existing models that is the main purpose of this paper.

Research Questions

The purpose of this paper is to build a new framework of analysis of organizational innovation to test this model and use it in the further studies.


To identify current situation in the Baltic States and to understand where to test the model, authors have performed multidimensional analysis of the fields of innovative business by using correlation and regression analysis according to the indicators of Finance, Employment and Investments. These indicators were chosen on the basis of European Union studies and their results that are generally accepted and recognized as appropriate.

Empirical Material

The data of the Central Statistical Bureau and the Bank of Latvia has been used. Main conclusions of this study are that Latvia falls behind other Baltic States in EU Innovation rank and main reason is low level of innovations; Analyzing correlation between number of employees, turnover, investment in ICT and venture investments showed only relationship between number of employees and investment in ICT, regression analysis showed that 80% of investment in ICT is explained by an increase in the number of employees that supports given model, but the field of an enterprise does not have any effect on the success of an innovative companies.


Results can be used for measuring organizational innovation more effectively as well as implementation of organizational innovations, developed model is the next step for the research that is planned to perform, as well further researchers could use the model.

Contribution to Scholarship

Several studies have pointed out few elements necessary to look at – data usable not only for analysis itself but for the policy making as well; and measurement framework to capture the organizational innovations. This paper proposes more successful framework for organizational innovation measurement, taking into account main criticisms from the previous debate.

Contribution to Practice

This study opens up further avenue for defining and measuring organizational innovations. But proposing better an more precise measurement frameworks, it will be possible to reach more coherent conclusions and suggestions for business organizations struggling in search of more innovations in order to compete in volatile environment.


This paper address one of the key element in the field of organizational innovation research - measurement framework.


EU commission, 2017. European Innovation Scoreboard. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10 March 2018].

Fredriksson, N., Wikberg, J., 2015. The Relationship Between R&D Spending And Firm Economic Performance A Regression Study Of Firms In The Industrial Equipment Manufacturing Industry. Chalmers University Of Technology Gothenburg, Sweden 2015.

Gault, F., 2016. Defining and Measuring Innovation in all Sectors of the Economy: Policy Relevance. OECD Blue Sky Forum III, Ghent, Belgium, September 19-21 2016.

Triguero, A., Córcoles, D., & Cuerva, M. C., 2013. Differences in in-novation between food and manufacturing firms: An analysis of persistence. Agribusiness, 29(3), pp. 273-292.

Utterback, J. M., 1994. Mastering the Dynamics of Innovation: How Companies Can Seize Opportunities in the Face of Technological Change. Harvard Business School Press.

2:45pm - 3:45pm19-PM2-03: ST6.2 - Innovation Management Approaches to Address Grand Challenges
Session Chair: Shima Barakat, University of Cambridge -
Session Chair: Serena Flammini, University of Cambridge
Session Chair: Letizia Mortara, University of Cambridge
Amphi Sauvy 

The social impact of Big Science-industry networks: the ITER case

Gloria Puliga1, Raffaella Manzini1, Valentina Lazzarotti1, Paola Batistoni2

1Liuc - Università Cattaneo, Italy; 2ENEA - Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development


Big Science provides opportunities for developing leading technologies. Large amount of public money is invested in Big Science and it is clear the need to account for this expenditure. Studies proven that immediate benefits exist. Part of them derives from collaborations between scientific partners and industry.


The social impact is the creation of social benefit. Unfortunately, measuring such benefit as consequence of Big Science projects is a challenging task (Bozeman and Youtie, 2017). Following a relevant stream of contributions, the social capital can be considered as the “root” of the social impact as it provides the foundation for systemically conceptualizing the social impact (Bornmann, 2013). Indeed, the core concept of social capital is that when participating to a network, the value of parts summed together is higher than the sum of each single piece (Nahapiet, J., & Ghoshal, 1998). Thus, as the social impact is a matter of multiple actors and factors, and science outcomes are better understood in terms of “collective knowledge” and not as single one (Bozeman, 2003), social capital can provide an interesting lens to analyze and evaluate it.

Literature Gap

Although adopting a social capital perspective is useful to better understand the social impact, theoretical and empirical contributions are still scant. In particular, firms are mainly analysed as single actors and not as organizations belonging to a network that generates benefits toward society (Castelnovo et al., 2018).

Research Questions

(1) How do Big Science-industry networks impact on the social capital creation in order to generate a social impact?

(2) What are the dimensions of social impact affected by Big Science-industry collaborations?


The paper adopts a qualitative methodology. Following the Public Value Mapping theory (Bozeman, 2003) and the type of research questions, we use a longitudinal and explorative case study (Yin 2013), which comprises the network of actors (among others ENEA, the public Italian research centre that studies the nuclear fusion energy) interacting with the firm Walter Tosto (WT) in order to produce an important spare for the ITER project. This is the most important project which aims to perform the nuclear fusion and addresses the Big Challenge of finding alternative sources to carbon fuels.

Empirical Material

Two types of sources are used: primary and secondary data. Primary data refer to interviews. The head of the fusion department, the head of the human resources and a sample of employees were interviewed. They also report the experience of other involved actors, i.e. subcontractors, research and educational institutions which participate to the project. Then, they were recalled in order to verify the information collected. This allows to have a view of the impact of the Big Science-industry collaboration on the network and on the social community.

The protocol of interview comprises:

(1) the evolution of the social capital dimensions (structural, relational and cognitive) to discover how the social capital has been created (Inkpen and Tsang, 2005);

(2) the areas of social impact, following the schema provided by the public network theory: individual, organization and community levels (Provan and Milward, 2001)

Secondary data refer to contracts, internal procedures, WT and its subcontractors financial data and investments. They allow to triangulate data and enrich the information collected with primary data, in order to answer the research questions. Data collected have been analysed with a deductive approach to depict how the evolution of the social capital has led to generate social benefits.


The established network comprises WT, other contractors, research centres, subcontractors and educational institutes. The network is stable and highly sustainable. Step by step there has been an increasing of knowledge between actors.

Consequently to change of social capital, social impacts occur at three levels. At an individual/employee level, employees show a “nuclear culture”, they feel job stability and high level of safety&security, they have higher economic benefits and they interact with several actors. ITER allows women to enter labs and production plants (not widely common). At a network level, there has been an exchange of knowledge and resources. The knowledge acquired is applied to other context and common markets. The network allows some firms to not run out of business. At a community level, people benefit in terms of employment (60 people have been hired). The collaboration with education institutes allows students to follow specialization courses for free and new directives have been set: courses proposed by WT have been accepted by the Education Minister. Service companies and infrastructures (airports and hotels) have significant economic benefits. The area around WT has gained an enormous market and it has been promoted at a national level by mass media.

Contribution to Scholarship

The present paper provides an advancement in studying the social impact generated by Big Science researches, using a network perspective and relying on the concept of social capital. From a methodological point of view, it provides a new way to assess the social impact, considering the fact that not all the benefits can be monetized and the fact that the value is produced by the network of actors involved that collaborate together. From a theoretical point of view, it shows how the Big Science-industry collaboration generates a social impact and it provides a framework of cause-effect relationships, where the evolution of social capital allows to trace a change in terms of social benefits.

Contribution to Practice

The practical contribution mainly concerns policy makers. The paper shows how since the construction of Big Science’ projects there is a generation of social benefit. It may be a point that justify the expenditure in basic research, also in comparison with applied science. It shows how the benefits are at different levels and that they occur when a network is created. For that, policy maker should set directions on pushing the collaboration between Big Science, industry and the community.


The conference focuses on bridging research, industry and society. The paper proposes a new way to evaluate social impacts that basic research projects generate toward society, thanks to research-industry networks. It focuses on ITER, one of the most relevant projects to address the Grand Challenges of finding new energy sources.


Bornmann, L. (2013). What is societal impact of research and how can it be assessed? A literature survey. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 64(2), 217-233.

Bozeman, B. (2003). Public value mapping of science outcomes: theory and method. Knowledge flows and knowledge collectives: Understanding the role of science and technology policies in development, 2, 3-48.

Bozeman, B., & Youtie, J. (2017). Socio-economic impacts and public value of government-funded research: lessons from four US National Science Foundation initiatives. Research Policy, 46(8), 1387-1398.

Castelnovo, P., Florio, M., Forte, S., Rossi, L., & Sirtori, E. (2018). The economic impact of technological procurement for large-scale research infrastructures: Evidence from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Research Policy, 47(9), 1853-1867.

Inkpen, A. C., & Tsang, E. W. (2005). Social capital, networks, and knowledge transfer. Academy of management review, 30(1), 146-165.

Nahapiet, J., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital, intellectual capital, and the organizational advantage. Academy of management review, 23(2), 242-266.

Provan, K. G., & Milward, H. B. (2001). Do networks really work? A framework for evaluating public‐sector organizational networks. Public administration review, 61(4), 414-423.

Yin, R. K. (2017). Case study research and applications: Design and methods. Sage publications.

Social system relations in the diffusion of social innovation into low resource markets

Orsolya Ihasz, Richard Adams, Shailendra Vyakarnam

Cranfield School of Management, United Kingdom


The complex nature of the “grand challenges” often requires complex solutions and multiple actors. Exogenously developed social innovations (EDSIs) have been identified as a powerful means of addressing these challenges, thus, we need to understand key factors that enable diffusion in order to facilitate the large-scale adoption of such innovations.


Previous research indicates that there are particular barriers to the diffusion of EDSIs in low resource markets, including; culture, religion, literacy, competing needs, geographical proximity (Prahalad, 2006), lack of information of local exigencies, the socio-economic context (Halme et al., 2012; Viswanathan & Sridharan, 2012; Chao et al., 2014).

The theoretical model of diffusion hinges on communication units or, as Rogers refers to them, communication channels (comprised of individuals and organizations) which influences the rate of adoption (Rogers, 2010). Diffusion can either be facilitated and frustrated by the communication both between and within the units. The quality of relations, between diffusers in the context of innovation into low resource markets is under-researched. This failing to realize the important effects and influence of the wider innovation ecology (Daugherty, 2011) on the diffusion process could result in the unsuccessful adoption of social innovations.

Literature Gap

Despite social systems being highlighted by Rogers and their apparent relevance for the market, our understanding of the factors that influence the adoption of EDSIs into LRMs is not well understood. There is a lack of studies that rigorously looked at the diffusion process where multiple actors considered as diffusers.

Research Questions

What are the key factors and relational dynamics of innovation ecology of multiple diffusers that leads to the successful diffusion of exogenously developed social innovations in low resource markets?


The systematic review (Denyer &Tranfield, 2009) adopted a framework analysis as method of synthesis (Ritchie and Spence 2009; Dixon-Wood, 2011) combined with the approach of grounded theory to complete our framework (Strauss, 1987; Strauss and Corbin, 1994).

We reviewed 74 articles, drawn from the last two decades of literature (since the increased attention on social innovation as a proposed solution to grand challenges) to develop our framework for the successful diffusion of EDSIs into LRMs. Of these 74, 27 empirical cases specifically examined the role of social system relations in the process of diffusion.

Empirical Material



The initial framework of key characteristics of EDSIs that were successfully adopted into LRMs consisted of four dimensions Aims, Processes, Climate and Structure each made up of specific factors.

We tested the ability of this framework to also capture characteristics of social system relations by examining 27 empirical cases. This highlighted the need to incorporate new features into the framework. Specifically, a new dimension ‘capacity’ was required to capture adaptive and self-organizing capacity of innovation ecologies as salient characteristics of system relations that could not be incorporated into the previous framework. Furthermore, new factors were added to the four dimensions already described by the framework; indigenous knowledge and emergent new information pathways were added to ‘processes’; and new form of trust was added to ‘climate’.

Current innovation diffusion processes fail to show respect for the creativity and intelligence of indigenous people, they tend to come packaged with exogenous participatory processes, encourage scaling-up, and ignore innovation that is already occurring. Successful diffusion would be likely to occur between interactions between multiple actors within the social system of diffusers.

Contribution to Scholarship

The review concludes that examining diffusion through the lens of innovation ecologies provides a contribution to innovation and management theory. Specifically, we argue for a need to shift perspective from product to system focus, from short term to long term collaboration and integrating indigenous knowledge into new emergent information pathways.

There is a call to reconfigure Roger’s diffusion of innovation theory on its communication behaviours and relational dynamics of social systems in this process. Though, there have been attempts to construct circular or spiral models of diffusion (Murray et al., 2011), more evidence and empirical data is required to develop a dynamic, circular model for the diffusion process with specific focus on the diffusion of exogenously developed social innovations into low resource markets.

Post-modern international development provides a useful setting to observe multi actor interactions in the process of diffusion that involve addressing challenges related to diffusers and adopters asymmetry.

Contribution to Practice

The provision of this framework, which outlines the factors that facilitate the successful diffusion of exogenously developed social innovations, could be adopted by a range of key stakeholders (NGOs, governmental organizations and external actors) to support these types of innovations (at different stages of the diffusion process) and so facilitate the achievement of key sustainable development goals.


To solve grand challenges, we expect multi-actor innovation ecologies to co-create new information pathways to support diffusion. There is a lack of evidence to highlight the activities and communication behaviours that are happening through diffusion. Yet these relations are important factors for diffusion that ultimately are associated with its success.


1. Alvord, S. H., L. D. Brown, C. W. Letts. (2004). Social entrepreneurship and societal transformation: An exploratory study. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 40(3) pp.260–282.

2. Denyer, D. & Tranfield, D. (2009). Producing a systematic review. In: Buchanan, D. & Bryman, A. (eds)

3. Dixon-Woods, M. (2011). Using framework-based synthesis for conducting reviews of qualitative studies. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 9, 39.

4. Dougherty, D. and Dunne, D.D., 2011. Organizing ecologies of complex innovation. Organization Science, 22(5), pp.1214-1223.

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8. Rogers, E. M. (2010). Diffusion of innovations. (5th edition) Simon and Schuster

9. Viswanathan, M. & Sridharan, S. (2012). Product Development for the BoP: Insights on Concept and Prototype Development from University-Based Student Projects in India. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 29, 52-69.

Tackling societal grand challenges on a sustainable basis: a matter of cultural dynamic capabilities

Fabrice Periac

Paris School of Business, France


George et al. (2016) suggest that "management theories can be applied to address Grand Challenges" (GCs), which are defined as "specific critical barrier(s) that, if removed, would help solve an important societal problem(...)". Further, they identify the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as "the most universal and widely adopted GCs".


In contrast with the dominant approach to sustainable development (SD), Periac et al. (2018) propose that SD should be conceptualized as the achievement and sustainment of a dynamic equilibrium between opposing forces, rather than the achievement of predefined static goals like the SDGs. Furthermore, they suggest that paradox management framework (Smith & Lewis, 2011) should be applied to pursue SD.

Based on this view, effectively tackling Grand Challenges mainly rests on fostering paradox management at society level.

An interesting parallel can be made with the dynamic capabilities literature (Zollo & Winter, 2002) which states that some "organizations are characterized by learned and stable patterns of collective activity through which they systematically generate and modify their operating routines in pursuit of improved effectiveness."

We argue that at society level, dynamic capabilities are crucial for sustainable development, and that they are cultural by nature.

Literature Gap

While Periac et al. (2018) point to the importance of addressing Sustaianble Development issues through a paradox management approach at society level, they say very little about how such evolution can occur.

Research Questions

What societal characteristics can be considered relevant drivers in tackling Grand Challenges? And how such characteristics can be developped?


Our article is mainly conceptual. We draw on a transdisciplinary literature review to design a conceptual framework which is meant to provide operational guidance in tackling Grand Challenges.

We also use archive documents about three cases of societal Grand Challenges to illustrate our points and highlight our framework's relevance.

Empirical Material



Three cultural dynamic capabilities are identified as relevant and complementary drivers for sustained paradox management within a society, and further, for effective tackling of Grand Challenges :

- understanding and embracement of paradox

- institutional plasticity

- entrepreneurial orientation

Contribution to Scholarship

Conceptualization of sustainable developement and Grand Challenges remain limited so far. Our artice aims at contributing to this literature gap

Contribution to Practice

Tackling societal Grand Challenges appear like a crucial stake of our time, but remains difficult to address. Our model aims at helping decision makers and citizens towards this direction.


Direct link with Tackling Grand Challenges


Teece Pisano & Shuen, 1997 - Dynamic Capabilities and strategic Management - Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 18, Issue 7, pp. 509-533

Smith & Lewis, 2011 - Toward a Theory of Paradox: A Dynamic equilibrium Model of Organizing - Academy of Management Review, Vol. 36, No. 2

Periac David & Roberson, 2018 - Clarifying the Interplay between Social Innovation and Sustainable Development: A Conceptual Framework Rooted in Paradox Management - European Management Review, Vol. 15, Issue 1, pp. 19-35

Date: Thursday, 20/Jun/2019
8:30am - 10:00am20-AM-02: ST3.4 - Digital innovation
Session Chair: Katarina Blomkvist, Uppsala University
Session Chair: Philip Kappen, Uppsala University
Session Chair: Ivo Zander, Uppsala University
Amphi Sauvy 

Digital innovation and design Transformations: re-framing design and development within the context of Internet of Things

Boyeun Lee, Rachel Cooper, David Hands, Paul Coulton

Lancaster University, United Kingdom


By 2020, it is estimated that 30 billion devices around the world will be connected to the Internet (IEEE Spectrum, 2016). With the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT) as a new source of large volume of data, businesses face new opportunities as well as novel challenges (Porter & Heppelmann, 2014).


The IoT is regarded as a fertile field for commercial enterprises and that one in every six businesses is planning to roll out an IoT-based product (Burkitt, 2014). However, since then it has been revealed that nearly three-quarters of IoT device implementations are failing due to the lack of experience in development (Reichert, 2017). This is because the integration of software in physical products is challenging existing innovation processes and the creation of meaningful value (Lenfle and Midler 2009; Yoo et al, 2012; Hui, 2014). The subject of New Product Development (NPD) and risk management has gained considerable attention from product development professionals and researchers over the decades (Durisin et al, 2010; Smith & Merritt, 2002; Susterova et al., 2012). However, developing IoT products and services, and managing risks during the process raises challenges because IoT implementations are complex systems often combining a product with a service resulting in multifaceted architectural and abstraction layers.

Literature Gap

Although the adoption of IoT is often, critically debated, little attention has been focused on the risk management and NPD process of IoT. Scholars from marketing and design argue that it is time to reframe traditional NPD processes for digital innovation within the era of IoT. (Ng & Wakenshaw, 2017).

Research Questions

1a) What are the characteristics of existing NPD processes and 1b) how they could be related to their counterparts within the process of digital innovation?

2) How could design and development processes for IoT be reframed?

3) What are the inherent risks associated with IoT products and the service(s) development process?


In this study, it was important to explore how value for IoT is created through NPD processes, as such; the authors adopted a qualitative research methods approach. Three qualitative research methods were utilised, including an extensive examination of current literatures, exploratory interviews and a comprehensive case study. As part of the literature review, search terms used, included 1) “NPD processes”, and “Risk management”, 2) “IoT”, “Digital innovation”, and “Digital artefact”. The exploratory interviews were recorded, transcribed, coded and analysed for emergent themes that were then clustered into defined categories and then compared across interviews, data from engagement tools and the literature review.

Empirical Material

In order to explore NPD processes and develop ideas on value creation for IoT, empirical materials were collected through semi-structured interviews and a pilot case study. Firstly, several exploratory semi-structured interviews were conducted in November 2017. Leading academics in the PETRAS project* participated for the interviews, lasting on average 45 minutes. Target interviewees were recruited for diversity in terms of their specialties within the sample group. Interview questions were developed focusing on themes about value creation for IoT, and attendant issues around IoT development in general.

The SPHERE project** was selected as a primary case study that is part of a pilot study prior to subsequent larger case-study activities. In line with an exploratory approach, it was selected due to its aim which is aligned to the central area of focus for the research study. The case study was conducted via a series of semi-structured interviews lasting up to two hours in July 2018. The recruitment criteria for participants for the case study featured industry experts who have knowledge and practical experience over 10 years; who understand the whole system of IoT products and services development; and who hold the authority to drive the project and to make strategic decisions.


Existing NPD models are continuously evolving and supported by emergent trends. However, they could be regarded as obsolete for IoT products and services within the role of digital innovation, as they do not reflect several factors, which influence value creation, and NPD processes for IoT, such as: the characteristics of digital technologies, the dimensions of data, and the characteristics of digital artefacts.

Through the case study, a new NPD model for IoT products and services was developed which contains three distinctive phases: a. Discover and define, b. Develop, and c. Deliver. The underlying development stages of process are not significantly different to existing NPD processes. However, due to particular characteristics of digital artefacts, the feature and value proposition of IoT offerings can continuously evolve.

Finally, the critical development risks over the NPD process were identified as follows: challenging customers to articulate and define their requirements; being unable to test feasibility until sufficient data has been collected; never being able to complete the design; difficulties in maintaining IoT products and services; challenges in quality control; the unexpected increased time to completion; barriers in building the partnership within the whole eco-system; and risks in scaling-up and so forth.

Contribution to Scholarship

The authors argue that the research study offers a series of important contributions for wider debate. The research will provide insights to marketing and R&D management research with regard to augmenting the body of literature regarding new approaches to the IoT product development process, whilst serving as starting point of future in-depth research on IoT NPD processes. Through doing this, the practical and theoretical design and development knowledge will be aligned together in a way to discuss how design can contribute to digital innovation process. By relating design and development process to business strategy and process theory, this research study will respond to an increasing call for interdisciplinary research from multiple disciplines for investigating digital innovation within the context of the IoT.

Contribution to Practice

This study serves as a tool to guide as to how IoT products and services could be developed specifically when a company decides to adopt IoT technology into a specific value proposition. Through identifying new NPD process for IoT and inherent risks over the development process, business and project managers will make strategic business decisions and manage development risks. In addition, design managers will effectively orchestrate and utilize designers during the stages of NPD process, embracing a user-centred approach.


This research is highly relevant to digital innovation as it will provide a unique range of insights through identifying new perspectives on value creation and design, and expanding the areas of NPD studies for IoT.


IEEE spectrum (2016) Popular Internet of Things Forecast of 50 Billion Devices by 2020 is Outdated,, accessed 17 January 2019

Porter, E, M. and Heppelmann, E, J. (2014). How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Competition, Harvard Business Review, Nov. 2014, pp.64-88

Burkitt, F. (2014). A Strategist’s Guide to the Internet of Things: The digital interconnection of billions of

devices is today’s most dynamic business opportunity, PWC, Issue 77, Winter, 2014

Reichert, C. (2017) Cisco: Most IoT projects are failing due to lack of experience and security. 13th Nov, 2017. ZDNet Available at: https://www.zdnet. com/article/cisco-most-iot-projects-are-failing-due-to-lack-of-experience-and- security/ Accessed on: 11th May 2018.

Yoo, Y., Boland, R. J., Jr., Lyytinen, K., and Majchrzak, A. (2012). Organizing for innovation in the digitalized world. Organization Science, 23(5), 1398-1408.

Hui, G. (2014) How the Internet of Things Changes Business Models, Harvard Business Review.

Durisin, B., Calabretta, G., and Parmeggiani, V. (2010) The Intellectual Structure of Product Innovation Research: A Bibliometric Study of the Journal of Product Innovation Management, 1984-2004, Journal of Product Innovation Management 2010; 27:437-451

Smith, P.G., and Merritt, G.M. (2002) ‘Proactive Risk Management - Controlling Uncertainty in Product Development’, Productivity Press, New York.

Susterova, M., Lavin, J., and Rives, J. (2012) Risk Management in Product Development Process. Annals of DAAAM for 2012 and Proceedings of the 23rd International DAAAM Symposium, vol 23. No 1.

Ng, C.L. I., and Wakenshaw, Y.L. S. (2017) The Internet of Things: Review and Research Directions, International Journal of Research in Marketing, 34 3-21, pp. 4-21

* PETRAS project is a research hub consortium of nine leading UK universities and over 48 partners explore critical issues in privacy, ethics, trust, reliability, acceptability and security.

** SPHERE project is an EPSRC funded interdisciplinary research collaboration with the aim to develop a multipurpose, multimodal sensor platform for monitoring people’s health inside their homes.

Reconstruction of institutionalized professions: A response to digital transformation in Swedish newspapers

Henry Lopez-Vega, Mart Ots, Anette Johansson

Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, Sweden


In the media industry, technological innovations are not just new channels of distribution but methods of production e.g. tools for automated text generation, programmatic advertising algorithms. These digital technologies provide more nuanced transformative changes in the components, system parameters and user needs of newspaper companies.


Organizing for digitalization challenges firm innovation capabilities in that it requires transcending existing knowledge boundaries (Carlile, 2004), purposefully allowing and encouraging new and old skills and competences to meet, fuse, and alter established organizational practices. Digitalization also requires organizations to stretch out their knowledge competences to embrace new technological skills, but also integrate them to transform their own organization. For example, Yoo et al., (2012) explained digital innovation requires new forms of collaboration and knowledge recombination to connect the boundaries of different ‘epistemic cultures and knowing in practice’ (Dougherty & Dunne, 2012). In some sectors, digital transformation has continued to push towards new technological innovations (e.g. digital imaging, manufacturing, medicine), however, in other sectors such as media, innovations remain largely incremental in that they mainly transferred the existing product (i.e. news) and journalistic practices to new digital distribution channels (e.g. by creating a website, an app) (Boczkowski, 2005)

Literature Gap

Research has explained how digital transformation has affected market offerings, business models, and the digital capabilities that underline the effective orchestration of digital transformation (Nambisan, Lyytinen et al., 2017). Academic research, however, has not explained how companies leverage the integration of digital technologies and maintain the institutionalized professional practices.

Research Questions

The purpose with this study is to arrive at a better understanding of how established companies (more than 100 years old) can organize to meet future demands of digital technologies?


We chose a comparative qualitative case study to examine how two Swedish newspaper companies were affected by digital transformation: integrate journalist practices with digital technologies and build processes for knowledge recombination. A theoretical and purposive sampling strategy was used to select a case that would provide access to empirically relevant and information rich data. Consequently, our sampling decision was based on the following criteria: 1) selected middle-sized newspaper companies i.e. a mature firm being affected by digitalization; and 2) the company would have implemented new practices to overcome digital disruption in Sweden.

Empirical Material

We selected two Swedish newspaper media companies. First, we selected HallMedia and the newspaper Jönköping Posten. The company was established in 1865 and it is the largest newspaper company. The second media company is MittMedia and the newspaper is Östersunds-Posten. This company was established in 1877 in the region of Jämtland. Between January 2018 and June 2018, we conducted 4 semi-structured interviews in each newspaper company (8 in total) with the directors, the chief journalist, digitalization–, IT– managers, and Human resource–managers all of whom had been involved in developing a digital strategy for the newspaper companies. Interviews lasted between 45 and 90 minutes and were transcribed verbatim. We also collected information via both participant observation of routinized staff meetings at the companies. Additionally, we conducted researcher-led workshops and group discussions, and collected secondary data. We also drew on a range of other sources of data including a research project about the personalization of news and robot journalism. These multiple sources allowed data-triangulation, and helped us to generate a holistic picture of the digital transformation in each newspaper company. We applied qualitative content analysis to the data which facilitated their organization and coding, and identification of key events.


The purpose with the study is to arrive at a better understanding of how established companies (more than 100 years old) can organize to meet future demands of digital technologies. In this paper, we explain how and why managers of two regionally-leading Swedish media companies – Hall Media and Mitt Media– that were affected by digital transformation: (i) decide between expanding knowledge boundaries (building internal digital capabilities) or connecting knowledge boundaries (acquiring digital capabilities); and (ii) integrate firm specific knowledge (i.e. journalist) with digital technologies (e.g. machine learning). We do this using a qualitative, narrative interview approach with employees (directors, managers, journalists) to unravel key activities and attitudes which enable and hinder expansion and connection of knowledge boundaries. For newspaper organizations, this is manifested in a realization that whereas newspaper articles will continue to be both relevant and important products, the organizational processes of operation are unsustainable in their traditional form.

Contribution to Scholarship

Our findings contribute to existing theories of innovation capabilities and knowledge integration. We argue that the combination of competence-enhancing and competence-creating capabilities results in digital innovations (Abernathy & Clark, 1985; Henderson & Clark, 1989) which satisfy new user needs, create new product connections and solutions. For newspaper companies, recombination of capabilities e.g. journalistic and digital capabilities is necessary for the creation of digital innovations. Our preliminary findings suggest that digitalization enables specialization of journalistic and advertisement of processes, creation of new digital capabilities and internal and external recombination of knowledge. This paper contributes to the emerging discussion on the role of artificial intelligence on innovation (Cockburn et al., 2018).

Contribution to Practice

This study set out to explore: 1) how mature companies leverage the integration of digital technologies while maintaining the institutionalized professional practices, and 2) presents two strategies to build digital innovation capabilities in established media companies in Sweden. The studied newspaper companies recombined knowledge about traditional journalism with internally created digital technologies OR externally acquired digital technologies to reconfigure the system around an essentially stable set of components and customer needs.


Our results are of great relevance for the scholarly and practitioner community that need to organize to develop new digital capabilities. Moreover, we show that digitalization does not only entail technological changes but also changes in the professional practices.


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How to prevent it from turning into just another organizational silo? – Task scope, structural set-up, and integration mechanisms in corporate digital labs

Marc Philipp Sauer, Fabian Reck

University of Bamberg, Germany


As digital value propositions and business models usually diverge from the traditional core business, many established firms struggle to find adequate forms of organization for fostering digital innovation. Corporate digital labs, i.e. separated organizational units in which digital business ideas are developed and tested, may present a viable option.


To realize the opportunities entailed by business digitization, firms need to simultaneously cope with two diametral tasks: (1) improving and exploiting the current core business, and (2) exploring and commercializing new digital value propositions and business models (Nylen & Holmström, 2015). One way to achieve such organizational ambidexterity is creating a physically and structurally separated unit, a corporate digital lab, to accomplish exploration while the operational business continues to deal with exploitative tasks (Lewis & Moultrie, 2005). Still, whereas such differentiation of innovative tasks can be advantageous, “the crucial task here is not the simple organizational structural decision in which the exploratory and exploitative subunits are separated, but the processes by which these units are integrated in a value enhancing way” (O’Reilly & Tushman, 2007, p. 17). To grasp the potential benefits of digital labs, firms thus need adequate integrative practices (e.g. Chen & Kannan-Narasimhan, 2015; Gassmann et al., 2012).

Literature Gap

The very few studies dealing with integration mechanisms in innovation labs take a rather broad firm-level perspective focusing on corporate policies and neglecting integration mechanisms on the project and individual level. Also, extant literature does not examine if different structural set-ups and tasks of innovation labs require different integrative measures.

Research Questions

Introducing a perspective of integration as a multi-layered phenomenon, we address the following research questions: (1) Which mechanisms on corporate, project and individual level allow for integration between digital labs and operational business? (2) Do different task scopes and structural set-ups of the lab require different patterns of integration mechanisms?


Given the limited theoretical knowledge on the interplay between the task scope, structural set-up, and integration mechanisms in innovation labs in general and corporate digital labs in specific, we conducted an inductive, multiple case study (Eisenhardt, 1989). An inductive case study design is particularly useful for developing novel theoretical insight in a research context not adequately addressed by current theory. By analysing and comparing a number of different cases, we were able to collect comparative data so that more accurate and generalizable theoretical insight might be obtained (Yin, 2017).

Empirical Material

We collected archival and interview data from six German organizations which operate in high-tech and professional service industries. We conducted twelve interviews with experts involved in the respective digital labs (two for each firm) with an average duration of around 50 minutes. Three of the interviewees served as CEO in their organization, five were leading the observed digital labs as departmental heads in the corporate ranks of a director or vice president, four were senior project managers responsible for three or more projects and innovation initiatives conducted in the organizational structure of the digital lab. For Analysis, we followed a four-step theory building process (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Miles & Huberman, 1994). First, we used the obtained interview data to create a thorough documentation of every research case. Second, we applied conceptual coding to uncover recurring concepts, patterns, and relationships between the uncover concepts. Third, we conducted a cross-case analysis in which we compared the research cases for similarities and differences in the occurring patterns. Fourth and finally, we iteratively analysed the case study material in the light of prior literature and further secondary data in order to help us refine our understanding of subject at hand.


Concerning the corporate level, we identified five major integration mechanisms: (1) vision of synergy; (2) integrative planning; (3) coordination responsibility on the top management level; (4) communication infrastructure; (5) education and mentoring programs. On project level, there were six core integrative practices: (1) active improvisation and recombination; (2) shared-responsibility structures; (3) iterative development processes; (4) recurrent showcasing; (5) third-party consultation; (6) rotating project assignment. Finally, the results indicate four integration mechanisms on the individual level: (1) proactive boundary spanning; (2) mobilizing personal contacts and informal networks; (3) “both/and”-thinking; (4) crafting “common ground”. Concerning how firms combine integrative practices, four firms follow a “directive”-paradigm (i.e. use a combination of rather “top-down” mechanisms on project and corporate level). In all those firms, the digital lab focuses on developing “digital” extensions to the core business (task scope), is located at the company headquarters, and headed by company veterans (structural set-up). The other two firms follow a “liaison”-paradigm (i.e. use a combination of rather “soft” mechanisms on individual and corporate level). Their digital labs differ from the others in that they are located in metropolitan areas away from the company headquarters, are led by external hires, and aim at creating completely new business fields.

Contribution to Scholarship

Extending previous works on integration mechanisms in innovation labs or similar forms of structural ambidexterity (e.g. Durisin & Todorova, 2012; O’Reilly et al., 2009), our findings offer some important theoretical implications. On the one hand, we followed Lewis and Andriopoulos’ (2013) assumption that paradoxes emerging from parallel organizational structures for exploitation and exploration require to be handled on different layers in the firm. Thus, we complement previous frameworks of integration mechanisms (e.g. Chen & Kannan-Narasimhan, 2015) by exploring further integrative practices on the individual and the project level. On the other hand, Gassmann et al. (2012) outline that based on current research, “only limited statements can be made on which internal and external constraints (e.g., industry dynamics, company size, corporate culture) favor or determine certain transition modes” (p. 129). Investigating task scope and structural set-up of digital labs as internal context factors, we provide pioneering insight concerning this research gap.

Contribution to Practice

From a leadership perspective, previous research suggests that top and middle management might need to make direct personal efforts to foster integration in the context of digital labs. Our findings indicate that also more indirect forms of leadership such as encouraging social and informal integration on the project and individual level and setting a context that enables employees to do so are important. From an organizational design perspective, we demonstrate how different types of digital labs require different integration mechanisms. Corporate strategists should become aware of the purpose fulfilled by the digital lab and create corresponding formal and informal integrative measures.


Our paper addresses the following issues stated in the call: (1) “Digital innovation across internal and external organizational boundaries”, (2) “The sources, drivers and consequences of digital innovation”. By examining a relevant practical phenomenon and extending existing theory, we hope to make a valuable contribution to the theme track.


Chen, R. R., and R. P. Kannan‐Narasimhan. 2015. “Formal Integration Archetypes in Ambidextrous Organizations.” R&D Management 45 (3): 267-286.

Durisin, B., and G. Todorova. 2012. “A Study of the Performativity of the ‘Ambidextrous Organizations’ Theory: Neither Lost in Nor Lost Before Translation.” Journal of Product Innovation Management 29(1): 53-75.

Eisenhardt, K. M. 1989. “Building Theory from Case Study Research.” Academy of Management Review 14 (4): 532-550.

Gassmann, O., B. Widenmayer, and M. Zeschky. 2012. “Implementing Radical Innovation in the Business: The Role of Transition Modes in Large Firms.” R&D Management 42 (2): 120-132.

Glaser, B., and A. Strauss. 1967. The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies in Qualitative Research. London: Wiedenfeld and Nicholson.

Lewis, M. W., and C. Andriopoulos. 2013. “Managing Innovation Paradoxes for Organizational Ambidexterity.” In: Kahn, K. B., The PDMA Handbook of New Product Development, Hoboken: John Wiley, 356-367.

Lewis, M., and J. Moultrie. 2005. “The Organizational Innovation Laboratory.” Creativity and Innovation Management 14 (1): 73-83.

Miles, M. B., and A. M. Huberman. 1994. Qualitative Data Analyses: An Expanded Sourcebook. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Nylén, D., and J. Holmström. 2015. “Digital Innovation Strategy: A Framework for Diagnosing and Improving Digital Product and Service Innovation.” Business Horizons 58 (1): 57-67.

O’Reilly, C. A., J. B. Harreld, and M. L. Tushman. 2009. “Organizational Ambidexterity: IBM and Emerging Business Opportunities.” California Management Review 51 (4): 75-99.

O’Reilly, C. A. and M. L. Tushman. 2007. “The Ambidexterity as a Dynamic Capability: Resolving the Innovator’s Dilemma.” Research in Organizational Behavior 28: 185-206.

Yin, R. K. 2017. Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Digital Transformation in SMEs: the case of Smart District 4.0

Ivano De Turi1, Antonello Garzoni1, Giustina Secundo2, Pasquale Del Vecchio2

1LUM - Libera Università Mediterranea Jean Monnet - Casamassima (Italy); 2University of Salento, Italy


The diffusion of digital technologies is causing a radical reconfiguration of firms’ organizational and strategic models. This process results to be more challengeable in SMEs where the adoption of models inspired to the principles of collaboration and networking is mandatory to overcome the limitations in terms of resources and capabilities.


Digital transformation is a topic of great actuality and interest in the agenda of scholars and practitioners (Cha et al., 2015: Li et al., 2018). The increasing use of advanced digital technologies is transforming innovation activities and production (Alcacer et al., 2016). Defined as the result of the introduction of “transformational information technology” (Lucas et al., 2013, p. 372), it involves fundamental changes in the configuration and execution of business processes (Venkatraman, 1994), operational routines (Chen et al., 2014), organizational capabilities (Tan, Pan, Lu, & Huang, 2015), and market innovation (Dehning, et al., 2003). Despite this, it continues to be afforded mainly in terms of IT Information Technology (Lucas et al., 2013) by disclosing the need of a deepen comprehension of its business and managerial implications, mainly in the context of SMEs.

Literature Gap

The literature highlights the need of a deepen comprehension of business and managerial implications of digital transformation, mainly in the context of SMEs, that are characterized by limited resources and present gaps in terms of cognitive and organizational assets (Li et al., 2018).

Research Questions

Accordingly, the paper tries to answer to the following research questions: Which are the drivers of digitalization in SMEs? How do digital technologies impact on the traditional configuration of SMEs’ business model?


The paper adopts a qualitative approach based on case study (Eisenhardt, 1989; Yin, 1984), as suitable methodology to analyze a contemporary phenomenon in its natural setting. The case is represented by Smart District 4.0, a joint venture launched by LUM Enterprise and Noovle, and aimed to design and realize processes of digitization in supply chains with a specific target related to SMEs operating in the agrofood, textile, clothing, footwear, mechatronics and mechanics. For its characteristics and features, the case identified can be classified as an extreme case study (Eisenhardt, 1989; Yin, 1984).

Empirical Material

Data collection has been conducted through the embracement of multiple sources of evidences. Specifically, interviews with key informants, analysis of official documents and reports, web based desk analysis.


The case study allowed to comprehend the main limitations and obstacles at the implementation of digital technologies by Apulian SMEs, with a specific focus on the agrofood, textile, clothing, footwear, mechatronics and mechanics industries. The case Smart District 4.0 showed the importance of networking and intellectual capital into the achievement of a process of digital transformation. Despite the technology is essential into such a process of digitization, critical for the successful transition of SMEs business models towards a digital configuration have been the human and social capitals.

Contribution to Scholarship

The analysis of the case offers interesting insights about the limits and obstacles that SMEs present into the implementation of digital technologies in their organizational and strategic models. Additionally, the paper sheds new lights on the role that Intellectual Capital, and mainly human and social assets, can provide at the achievement of a successful process of digital transformation by demonstrating as technology is necessary but not sufficient to assure it. Moreover, cross-regional analysis can be conducted in order to identify patterns at local level. All these items disclose new roots for the development of a cross disciplinary research agenda.

Contribution to Practice

By allowing to identify the antecedents and consequences of digitalization in the context of SMEs, mainly in terms of value drivers and process of reengineering, the paper offers several implications for the practice by allowing to identify common and distinctive industrial patterns and to make a trade-off on the meaning of digital transformation in SMEs and big corporations.


The contribution at the comprehension of conditions and processes required to make successful the implementation of digital technologies in the context of SMEs as well as the empirical evidences presented make the study coherent with the track's goal identified.


Alcacer J., Cantwell J., Piscitello L. 2016. Internationalization in the information age: A new era for places, firms, and international business networks?

Cha, K. J., Hwang, T., & Gregor, S. (2015). An integrative model of IT-enabled organizational transformation: A multiple case study. Management Decision, 53(8), 1755-1770.

Chen, J. E., Pan, S. L., & Ouyang, T. H. (2014). Routine reconfiguration in traditional companies' e‐commerce strategy implementation: A trajectory perspective. Information Management, 51(2), 270–282.

Dehning, B., Richardson, V. J., & Zmud, R. W. (2003). The value relevance of announcements of transformational information technology investments. MIS Quarterly, 27(4), 637–656.

Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Building theories from case study research. Academy of management review, 14(4), 532-550.

Li, L., Su, F., Zhang, W., & Mao, J. Y. (2018). Digital transformation by SME entrepreneurs: A capability perspective. Information Systems Journal, 28(6), 1129-1157.

Lucas, H.C., Agarwal, R., Clemons, E.K., El Sawy, O.A., Weber, B. (2013). Impactful Research on Transformational Information Technology: an Opportunity to Inform New Audiences,” MIS Quarterly (37:2), pp. 371-382.

Venkatraman, N. 1994. “IT-enabled Business Transformation: from Automation to Business Scope Redefinition,” Sloan management review (35:2), pp. 73-87.

Yin, R. (1984). Case Study Research. Beverly Hills.

1:00pm - 2:30pm20-PM1-02: ST3.4 - Digital innovation
Session Chair: Paul Chiambaretto, Montpellier Business School / Ecole Polytechnique
Amphi Sauvy 

Managing Digital Innovation Processes: The Case of Integrated Product-Service Systems

Tor Helge Aas1,3, Karl Joachim Breunig2, Magnus Hellström1, Katja M. Hydle3

1University of Agder, Norway; 2OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University; 3NORCE - Norwegian Research Centre


Digital technology is often an important enabler when manufacturing firms create new revenue streams “by adding services to products” (Baines et al., 2009, p. 547), often referred to as the ‘digital servitization’ of manufacturing (Bustinza et al., 2018). This paper focus on the characteristics of innovation processes in servitized firms.


Research on the management of innovation processes has typically focused on either new product development (NPD) (Cooper, 2008) or new service development (NSD) (Hipp and Grupp, 2005), while the development of new integrated digital product-service systems (PSS) has received limited attention (Zhang and Banerji, 2017). Empirical studies have found that NSD processes are typically more incremental, iterative and ad-hoc than NPD processes (e.g., Hipp and Grupp, 2005), and as a consequence scholars have argued that firms need to implement different processes for NSD and NPD (Droege et al., 2009). This recommendation is reasonable in cases when services and products may be separated, but more problematic in servitized firms that offer integrated digital product-service systems (Zhang and Banerji, 2017). Thus, more research is needed on new digital product-service system development processes (Zhang and Banerji, 2017).

Literature Gap

Since digital servitized firms offer integrated product-service systems they need innovation processes for both products and digital services (Zhang and Banerji, 2017). Research on of new digital product-service system development processes and how they are managed has, however, until now remained scarce.

Research Questions

In this paper we, therefore, aim to empirically explore how digital product-service system innovation processes are implemented in servitized firms. The following research questions are raised: 1) What are the characteristics of new digital product-service system development processes? 2) How are new digital product-service system development processes managed?


Since qualitative research arguably has advantages when the phenomenon to be studied is not well understood and where the variables are still unknown, we used a qualitative multiple case study approach (e.g., Yin, 2008) to answer the research questions raised in this study.

Empirical Material

Based on a dialogue with the management of a business cluster of leading firms within the Norwegian energy and maritime sector dialogue five servitized firms were selected as case organizations. The degree of service orientation in the firms varied, but all five firms offered advanced equipment (such as drilling equipment and heavy lifting equipment) in combination with digital services. All firms also had a strategic focus on innovation and had several ongoing new digital product-service system development initiatives in their innovation portfolios. Data related to how new digital product-service development processes were implemented in the case organizations was collected through semi structured in-depth interviews with in total 43 key-employees. The data was coded and analysed in an inductive manner by performing both within-case and cross-case analysis.


All case organizations provided a high number of examples of new product-service systems that had recently been successfully implemented or launched in the market. The examples varied both with respect to the types of services (digital versus non-digital services) offered and with respect to the business models used (product-oriented versus result-oriented business models). Our findings suggested that the characteristics and the management of the new product-service system development processes were contingent upon both the type of service and the business model. Four different development processes were identified: (1) Result-oriented business models and digital services: The innovation processes were characterized by the use of cross-functional teams and formal idea-to-launch systems. (2) Product-oriented business models and digital services: The innovation processes were characterized by the use of technology experts and formal idea-to-launch systems. (3) Product-oriented business models and non-digital services: The innovation processes were characterized by the use of two separate teams for NPD and NSD where the NPD teams used formal idea-to-launch systems and the NSD teams used informal idea-to-launch systems. (4) Result-oriented business models and non-digital services: The innovation processes were characterized by the use of cross-functional teams and informal idea-to-launch systems.

Contribution to Scholarship

By using comprehensive qualitative case study data from five servitized firms, the paper contributes to the ongoing debate related to new digital product-service system development processes (Zhang and Banerji, 2017). Our findings advance this debate by suggesting that the characteristics and management of these processes are contingent upon the business model and type of services. Further research is needed to verify if the same contingencies are found in other types of organizations.

Contribution to Practice

The practical experiences reported in the paper provide considerable assistance and guidance to managers searching for better ways to manage the processes of developing new product-service systems. The findings demonstrate that there is not one specific process that should be implemented and used in all new product-service system development initiatives. Instead managers need to select a process that fit the services and business model of the product-service system under development.


This research is in particular relevant to Theme 3 (Digital Technology) and Track 3.4 (Digital Innovation).


Baines, T. S., Lightfoot, H. W., Benedettini, O., & Kay, J. M. (2009). The servitization of manufacturing: A review of literature and reflection on future challenges. Journal of manufacturing technology management, 20(5), 547-567.

Bustinza, O. F., Gomes, E., Vendrell‐Herrero, F., & Tarba, S. Y. (2018). An organizational change framework for digital servitization: Evidence from the Veneto region. Strategic Change, 27(2), 111-119.

Cooper, R. G. (2008). Perspective: The stage gate® idea to launch process—update, what's new, and nexgen systems. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 25(3), 213-232.

Hipp, C., & Grupp, H. (2005). Innovation in the service sector: The demand for service-specific innovation measurement concepts and typologies. Research Policy, 34(4), 517-535.

Zhang, W., & Banerji, S. (2017). Challenges of servitization: A systematic literature review. Industrial Marketing Management, 65, 217-227.

Yin, R.K. (2008). Case Study Research: Design and Methods, vol. 5. SAGE, USA.

What does our contemporary innovation management community consider to be rigorous case study research?

Hyunkyu Park1, Joonmo Ahn2, Letizia Mortara3

1Centre for Science, Technology & Innovation Policy, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; 2Graduate School of Management of Technology, Sogang University, South Korea; 3Centre for Technology Management, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom


Case study is a well recognised research method in the field of innovation management (Conn and Ritala 2018). However, guidance for this method tailored to innovation studies is not yet consolidated despite it being available for other research domains (e.g. Gibbert & Ruigrok, 2010; Ketokivi & Choi, 2014).


Three types of work pertaining case studies can be found in the literature. First, some authors provide classifications of case study approaches and ‘comprehensive overview of the case study process’ (e.g. Eckstein, 1975; Meyer, 2001; Thomas, 2011). The second stream of research attempts to capture methodological trends and pluralism in a given journal in a certain period (e.g. Aguinis, Pierce, Bosco, & Muslin, 2009; Ketchen, Boyd, & Bergh, 2008; Scandura & Williams, 2000). Finally, others suggest a variety of prescriptive steps for carrying out, writing up and reviewing case study research (e.g. Eisenhardt & Graebner, 2007; Gibbert, Ruigrok, & Wicki, 2008; Pratt, 2008, 2009).

Literature Gap

Notwithstanding their abundance, extant methodological articles are likely to fall short in dealing with the idiosyncrasies underpinning our field.

Research Questions

What does our contemporary innovation management community consider to be rigorous case study research?


To address this research question, we conduct interviews and content analysis.

Empirical Material

In particular, we interview the editors and editorial members of major innovation management journals, such as Research Policy, R&D Management, Technovation and JPIM. We then look into 372 articles published in the aforementioned journals in the 2009-18 period and perform a content analysis to identify the successful approaches taken by our colleagues.


Our emerging results to date include the following:

1) recurring citations of conflicting methodologists in the same manuscript. One interpretation, possibly explaining the co-existance of different and sometimes contrasting methodological approaches, is the authors’ attempt to second the preferences of different reviewers. However, the editors and assistant editors interviewed agree that this practice results in less rigorous and publishable work;

2) there is a consensus in the editorial teams that merely descriptive case research is likely to receive desk-rejection. case study work has to make theoretical contributions, whether theory-building, testing or elaboration;

3) while generalisation is hardly achieved in case study research, our informants submit that it is the authors’ responsibility to discuss the boundaries of generalisability through, for example, ‘some simple mental tests of the generalizability of core propositions’ (Whetten, 1989: 492).

However the analysis is still underway with the aim to realise: (a) what the editors of major innovation journals regard as rigorous, persuasive and publishable case study methods, and (b) how case study authors actually perform case study research and, in doing so, collectively define the socially constructed, de facto standard set for the case study.

Contribution to Scholarship

This work contributes to innovation management studies by suggesting a set of prescriptions for those using/reviewing case study methods.

Contribution to Practice

We believe that this effort helps researchers to conduct rigorous case studies that are, intrinsically, designed to deliver rich insights to audiences in industry and society (Pratt & Bonaccio, 2016).


Case study methods encourage researchers to travel back and forth between theory and practice. Findings emerged from these processes readily bridge research, industry and society, that is, the key them of the R&D Management conference. Our methodological work on case study, therefore, has a perfect fit with the conference.


Aguinis, H., Pierce, C. A., Bosco, F. A., & Muslin, I. S. 2009. First Decade of Organizational Research Methods: Trends in Design, Measurement, and Data-Analysis Topics. Organizational Research Methods, vol. 12.

Conn, S., & Ritala, P. 2018. The growing importance of research methods in innovation management research: A note from the 2018 ISPIM Innovation Conference. Technovation.

Eckstein, H. 1975. Case studies and theory in political science. In F. I. Greenstein & N. W. Polsby (Eds.), Handbook of political science, vol. 7: 79–138. Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Eisenhardt, K. M., & Graebner, M. E. 2007. Theory building from cases: Opportunities and challenges. Academy of Management Journal, 50(1): 25–32.

Gibbert, M., & Ruigrok, W. 2010. The ‘“What”’ and ‘“How”’ of Case Study Rigor: Three Strategies Based on Published Work. Organizational Research Methods, 13(4): 710–737.

Gibbert, M., Ruigrok, W., & Wicki, B. 2008. What passes as a rigorous case study? Strategic Management Journal, 29(13): 1465–1474.

Ketchen, D. J., Boyd, B. K., & Bergh, D. D. 2008. Research Methodology in Strategic Management: Past Accomplishments and Future Challenges. Organizational Research Methods, 11(4): 643–658.

Ketokivi, M., & Choi, T. 2014. Renaissance of case research as a scientific method. Journal of Operations Management, 32(5): 232–240.

Meyer, C. B. 2001. A Case in Case Study Methodology. Field Methods, 13(4): 329–352.

Pratt, M. G. 2008. Fitting Oval Pegs Into Round Holes: Tensions in Evaluating and Publishing Qualitative Research in Top-Tier North American Journals. Organizational Research Methods, 11(3): 481–509.

Pratt, M. G. 2009. From the Editors: For the Lack of a Boilerplate: Tips on Writing Up (and Reviewing) Qualitative Research. Academy of Management Journal, 52(5): 856–862.

Pratt, M. G., & Bonaccio, S. 2016. Qualitative research in I-O psychology: Maps, myths, and moving forward. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 9(4): 93–715.

Scandura, T. A., & Williams, E. A. 2000. Research Methodology in Management: Current Practices, Trends, and Implications for Future Research. Academy of Management Journal, 43(6): 1248–1264.

Thomas, G. 2011. A typology for the case study in social science following a review of definition, discourse, and structure. Qualitative Inquiry, 17(6): 511–521.

Whetten, D. A. 1989. What Constitutes a Theoretical Contribution? Academy of Management Review, 14(4): 490–495.

High–tech Start–ups and Alternative Mechanisms of IP Protection: Evidence from Corporate Venture Capital Investments in the Automotive Ecosystem

Maria Teresa Aguilar Rojas1,2, Jordana Viotto da Cruz1,2

1University Paris-Dauphine (PSL); 2Governance and Regulation Chair


Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) offers young innovative firms access to capital and to non-pecuniary resources. However, they suffer the risk for intellectual property misappropriation. This is the case of the emerging automobile ecosystem, incumbents have been challenged by new firms and partner with start-ups to gain insights on new technologies.


The literature in economics and management has long recognized the preponderant role of young firms for innovation, challenging the market by introducing disruptive technologies (Veugelers and Schneider, 2018). This attract incumbents willing to appropriate the gains of the innovation. Indeed, investment in new firms increases the patenting activity of the CVC. The results are more pronounced in industries with “weak” appropriability regimes, as it is the case for software/internet (Dushnitsky and Lenox, 2005).

To protect their IP, entrepreneurial firms resort not only to formal (patents), but also to informal (secrecy) IPP mechanisms. Literature posits that the more developed the technology, the more difficult to imitate an innovation (Katila et al., 2008). Similarly, connections to influential third parties might facilitate trust and protect from misbehavior of the incumbents (Hallen et al., 2014). Other resources, such as trademarks provide brand and reputation, protecting them as well from misappropriation (Huang et al.,2013).

Literature Gap

To our knowledge, no study condensate and evaluate all the informal mechanisms that firms could use to protect their IP (timing, social and resource defenses). In addition, they disregard the dimension of potential for misappropriation, measured by the industry overlap (firms in the same industry have higher potential for misappropriation).

Research Questions

What are the strategies that entrepreneurs adopt to protect their intellectual property and avoid bypassing from the resources offered by Corporate Venture Capitalists?

Is the use of these strategies more relevant when the venture firm and CVC investor operate in overlapping industries?


We use a logistic regression to measure the likelihood of any entrepreneurial firm form an investment tie with any CVC. The dependent variable is a dummy equal to 1 if an investment between the CVC-firm pair is realized. The independent variables are:

- Industry overlap: dummy equal to 1 if the firm and the CVC share the same 4-digit industry code.

- Legal Defense: patent stock of the firm at the time of the round.

- Social Defense: whether startups are backed by well-connected VCs (measured by the eigenvector centrality).

- Downstream Capability: cumulative number of “live” trademarks at the time of the round.

Empirical Material

The main source of information for our dataset is Crunchbase, a crowdsourced database with information on innovative companies and investors in several countries.

We identify startups in the automotive ecosystem by using Crunchbase categorization (“automotive”, “autonomous vehicles”, “electric vehicles”). We restrict our sample to firms created from 2000 on and incorporated in the United States.

From Crunchbase, we collect information on the new ventures: founded date, headquarters’ location, and the experience of the founding team. We also retrieve the number of funding rounds, type of round (e.g., Seed, Series A), and the date of announcement.

We identify the investors participating on each round of all the ventures and consider them as CVCs based on Crunchbase’s categorization, or the organization’s (or its parent) main activity is not on venture capital.

To categorize firms into industries, we use the Global Industry Categorization Standard (GICS), developed by MSCI and Standard & Poor’s Dow Jones.

We collected data on patent registration and copyright on Patentscope and the U.S. Copyright database, respectively. Information on trademarks comes from the Trademark Electronic Search System.

The database contains 36 dyads having formed ties in the first round and 21,276 dyads not having formed ties, consistent with prior work.


Firstly, we expect that young innovative firms will be more likely to tie with a CVC investor in the same industry when they possess strong downstream capabilities.

Secondly, we expect that young innovative firms will be more likely to engage in a tie with a CVC investor in the same industry when they are connected with influential third parties.

Thirdly, we expect that young innovative firms will be more likely to engage in a tie with a CVC investor in the same industry when they have more developed innovation.

Finally, we claim that opportunistic behavior might be more likely when both, the CVC (or its parent firm) and the entrepreneur are in the same industry, as the CVC possesses greater ability and inclination to imitate. Therefore, legal and alternative protection will be more important when the venture firm and CVC investor operate in overlapping industries.

Contribution to Scholarship

Our work is closely related to the literature investigating “the paradox of CVC”, as it involves a young innovative firm facing a challenging situation in which a potential partner can be, at the same time, attractive and dangerous.

First, we bring together the insights from the pertinent literature about of how young innovative firms can protect their intellectual property. More specifically, we consider timing defense (Katila et al., 2008) social defense (Hallen et al., 2014), and downstream capabilities (Huang et al., 2013). These strategies help balance the tension between cooperation and competition that emerge in a relationship between entrepreneurial firms and incumbents.

To this, we add the dimension of potential for misappropriation, including the industry overlap (Dushnitsky and Shaver, 2009). Third, we study firms participating in the same ecosystem, therefore with a high potential of tie formation.

Contribution to Practice

Our main contribution to practice is to entrepreneurs seeking to attract investment from CVCs, while protecting their intellectual property. Specially in weak IP regimes, as it is the case of software, they could use alternative defense mechanisms. First, they could establish partnerships with well-connected venture capitalists. Second, they could appeal to timing defenses, by receiving CVC funding at a more mature stage of the innovation. Finally, they could register trademarks to create a brand a reputation.

We also highlight the role of entrepreneurial firms as active decision-makers in a decision to form a corporate investment relationship.


The digital innovation is a complex process involving multiple actors, such as startups, who frequently introduce disruptive technologies, and incumbents, willing to capture the innovation. However, knowledge misappropriation detriments the incentives for innovation. Hence, it is important to understand the mechanisms that could be used to protect digital innovation.


Dushnitsky, G. and Lenox, M. J.: 2005, When do incumbents learn from entrepreneurial ventures?: Corporate venture capital and investing firm innovation rates, Research Policy 34(5), 615–639.

Dushnitsky, G. and Shaver, J. M.: 2009, Limitations to inter-organizational knowledge transfer: The paradox of corporate venture capital, Strategic Management Journal 30(10), 1045–1064.

Veugelers, R. and Schneider, C.: 2018, Which IP strategies do young highly innovative firms choose?, Small Business Economics 50(1), 113–129.

Hallen, B. L., Katila, R. and Rosenberger, J. D.: 2014, Unpacking Social Defenses: A Resource-Dependence Lens on Technology Ventures, Venture Capital, and Corporate Relationships, Academy of management Journal (December 2013), 1–51.

Huang, P., Ceccagnoli, M., Forman, C. and Wu, D. J.: 2013, Appropriability Mechanisms and the Platform Partnership Decision: Evidence from Enterprise Software, Management Science 59(1), 102–121. URL:

Katila, R., Rosenberger, J. D. and Eisenhardt, K. M.: 2008, Swimming with Sharks : Technology Ventures, Defense Mechanisms and Corporate Relationships, Administrative Science Quarterly 53(2), 295–332.

Digital transformation of business model innovation: A structured literature review

Selma Vaska

Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy


In recent years, the phenomenon of digital transformation (DT) has become very popular (Fitzgerald et al. 2013; Kane et al., 2015). The effect of new digital technologies such as social, mobile, analytics, cloud and Internet of Things (SMACIT) arises digital transformation phenomenon (Sebastian et al., 2017).


Following Westerman’s et al. (2014) categorization on digital transformation effects, the role of digital technologies is central to the creation of new dynamics for business operations, which in turn forces changes to existing business models. One reason for this is that digital transformation includes the integration of digital products and services within the core business model to improve or introduce new customer experiences or value pathways (Nambisan et al. 2017). The other reason is that digital infrastructure offers to companies the capabilities to develop new business models (Rayna & Striukova, 2016; Berman et al., 2012), as they can re-appropriate existing resources and experiment with new forms of value creation mechanisms, while also providing greater value for all stakeholders (Tilson et al., 2010). Thus, new business models based on digital technologies offer competitive advantage to firms (Berman et al., 2012).

Literature Gap

The latest call of Visnjic et al. (2016) shows that the understanding of digital transformation of business models remains poor. Moreover, understanding how digital transformation enables innovation of BMs is essential requirement for their adaptions they represent the new logic for companies how to create and capture value (Afuah, 2004).

Research Questions

RQ1. How has the field of digital transformation developed over time?

RQ2. What is the focus of literature in digital transformation of BMI?

RQ3. How has digital transformation facilitated Business Model Innovation?


This paper adopts a structured literature review. According to Massaro et al. (2016), a structured literature review is “a method for studying a corpus of scholarly literature, to develop insights, critical reflections, future research paths and research questions”. The reason for adopting a structured literature review is because “it is based on a positivist, quantitative, form-oriented content analysis for reviewing literature” (Massaro et al., 2016). This method follows a ten-steps process that ensures the researcher to “potentially develop more informed and relevant research paths and questions” (Massaro et al., 2016).

Empirical Material

After having identified the keywords and the framework of the study, we started the collection and selection of papers followed a multi-staged process. Firstly, we searched in the SCOPUS database with the defined keywords in the protocol. This first search revealed 193 publications. In a second step, in order to control over the quality of articles we restricted the search to peer-reviewed journals in the category of Business and Management that are ranked 3, 4 and 4* in ABS evaluation. With this additional restriction we did not take into consideration book chapters, book reviews and conference articles. Therefore, in this second search we found articles published in peer-reviewed journals over the time span from 1996 to 2018, which reduced the number of publications to 94. After the collection of all the articles, each paper was checked for the inclusion of key words in the title, abstract and keywords, in order to ensure that articles fit the research objective of this study. During the screening stage of publications we found only few articles which were published previous to 2014 to be about digital transformation and business model innovation. Thus, the final sample of considered publications included 40 research articles.


The review of the literature shows that digital transformation of BMI is a new field of research with a growth of interest from researchers starting in 2014. This implies an evolution of the maturity of the field towards pragmatic science, as researchers have addressed relevant issues with robust methodology (Anderson, 2001). However, more collaboration is needed in the future between practitioners and academics, to lower the divide between practitioners and academics (Anderson, 2001). As there is an increased interest of researchers we expect a further growing number of publications in the field.

The shift of topics over time reveals on the one hand the practitioner-led nature of research in this field. On the other hand, we observe no dominating author in the field, implying that few authors remain focused on exploring further aspects of BMI driven by digital transformation. This hinders the knowledge-building process in the field, as only few authors make use of prior findings to build cumulative knowledge. In the future authors should rely more on previous findings to build upon them. Furthermore, results show for a need of research in developing countries and other industries such as design, architecture, advertising and fashion industry (Mangematin et al., 2014).

Contribution to Scholarship

From the theoretical perspective, this study contributes to these digitally enabled types of BMI, that make the emergence of business models a promising unit of analysis for undertaking innovation strategies. Firstly, this study provides an overview of the development of the field of study of digital transformation of business model innovation, highlighting the avenues for further research. Secondly, our research showed the impacts of digital technologies on value creation, capture and delivery of BMs. Thirdly, we conclude that digital transformation is enabling companies to work for issues of sustainability by engaging them in circular and sharing economy approaches. Thus, Business Models have become an open tool to everyday changes related to technological improvements and knowledge management with regard to stakeholders and sustainability issues.

Contribution to Practice

Concerning practice, the results of this study may help practitioners to understand how digital transformation of business model innovations can be achieved.


With regard to the conference, this paper brings theoretical and practical insights on the role of digital technologies in innovation of business models.


Afuah, A. 2004. Business models: a strategic management approach. McGraw-Hill, New York

Anderson, N., Herriot, P. and Hodgkinson, G.P. (2001), “The practitioner-researcher divide in Industrial, work and organizational (IWO) psychology: where are we now, and where do we go from here?”, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 74 No. 4, pp. 391-411.

Berman, S. J, and S. J. Berman, 2012. “Digital transformation: opportunities to create new business models.” Strategy & Leadership, 40: 16-24

Fitzgerald, Michael, Nina Kruschwitz, Didier Bonnet, and Michael Welch. 2013. “Embracing digital technology: A new strategic imperative.” MIT Sloan Management Review, 1–12.

Kane, G. C., Palmer, D. Phillips A. N. Kiron, D., and N. Buckley. 2015. “Strategy, not technology, drives digital transformation ” 571-81.

Mangematin, V., J. Sapsed, and E. Schüßler. 2014. “Disassembly and reassembly: An introduction to the Special Issue on digital technology and creative industries.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 83: 1–9.

Massaro, M., J. Dumay, and J. Guthrie, 2016. “On the shoulders of giants: Undertaking a structured literature review in accounting.” Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal 29: 767–801.

Nambisan, S., K. Lyytinen, A. Majchrzak, M. Song. 2017. “Digital innovation management: reinventing innovation management research in a digital world”. MIS Quarterly, 41: 223–38.

Rayna, Thierry, and L. Striukova. 2016. “From rapid prototyping to home fabrication: How 3D printing is changing business model innovation.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 102: 214–24.

Sebastian, I. M, J. W Ross, and C. Beath. 2017. “How big old companies navigate digital transformation” : 197–213.

Tilson, D. 2010. “Digital infrastructures: The missing IS research agenda”. Infomration Systems Research, 21: 748–59.

Visnjic, I., F. Wiengarten, and A. Neely. 2016. “Only the brave: product innovation, service business model innovation, and their impact on performance.” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 33: 36–52.

2:45pm - 4:15pm20-PM2-02: ST7.1 - (Open) Innovation Paths Towards Society 5.0
Session Chair: Tindara Abbate, University of Messina
Session Chair: Barbara Aquilani, University of 'Tuscia' of Viterbo
Session Chair: Anna Codini, University of Brescia
Session Chair: Michela Piccarozzi, Univerty of ?Tuscia' of Viterbo
Amphi Sauvy 

The Rush for Patents in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: An Exploration of Patenting Activity at the European Patent Office

Mario Benassi, Elena Grinza, Francesco Rentocchini

University of Milan, Italy


Despite the interest related to 4IR from practitioners and policy makers, less attention has come from academia. Our paper aims at filling this gap and provides an in-depth description of the technological trends, geographic distribution, and business-level dynamics of the 4IR in the EU from patent- and firm-level perspectives.


Although the 4IR has attracted increasing interest from policymakers and practitioners, academic studies in management and economics are rare and sporadic. Moreover, they have only examined specific topics relating to the 4IR (particularly AI and software and related technologies) so far without analyzing the overall phenomenon (e.g., Bessen, 2017, Felten et al., 2018, Webb et al., 2018). Furthermore, these works have focused on the US. The only exception is a recent study from the EPO, which provides a preliminary description of 4IR-related patenting activity in the EU (EPO, 2017). This study is mainly a methodological one as it provides a novel method to identify and classify 4IR technologies via patent information. Although the work from EPO provides a basic overview of 4IR applications filed at the EPO, the empirical work is limited to the description of basic trends and the geographic distribution of inventors of 4IR patents.

Literature Gap

There is no study providing an in-depth description of the technological trends, geographic distribution, and business-level dynamics of the 4IR in the EU from patent- and firm-level perspectives. The few existing studies on 4IR concentrate on specific technological sectors in the US, and completely overlook the firm-level perspective.

Research Questions

Our paper aims at providing an in-depth description of the technological trends, geographic distribution, and business-level dynamics of the 4IR in the EU from patent- and firm-level perspectives.


We conduct an empirical assessment of the development of technologies related to the 4IR via the analysis of patents filed at the EPO between 1985 and 2014. We employ a new matched patent-firm data set provided by the Bureau Van Dijk: ORBIS-IP. In order to identify 4IR patents, we adopt the classification recently proposed by the EPO (2017), which maps 4IR technologies to CPC classes. Our methodology is quantitative. We provide several tables and graph as well as of a novel cluster analysis aimed at understanding firm-level patterns concerning specialization in particular 4IR technological fields.

Empirical Material

Our main source of data is ORBIS-IP, a large data set provided by the Bureau Van Dijk. ORBIS-IP is a recently released data set combining rich firm-level and patent-level information for more than 300 million companies and more than 110 million patent records. To construct our data set, we did an intense work of data mining from ORBIS-IP. First, we collected 4IR patent applications based on the CPC codes individuated by the EPO classification. Second, after selecting those patent applications that were filed at the EPO between 1985 and 2014 – our object of analysis – we gathered additional information on those patent applications. ORBIS-IP provides a firm identifier, called “bvdid”, which uniquely identifies each company present in the data set. Besides general information on applicants, ORBIS-IP also indicates, for each patent application, the bvdid of the applicant(s), whenever it exists. Third, endowed with bvdid identifiers, we collected relevant firm-level information of the applicants. As a result, we obtained a matched patent-firm data set. Our final sample comprises patent- and firm-level longitudinal information for 41,767 companies that filed 758,218 4IR patents over the period 1985-2014.


We find evidence of a surge in patenting activity related to the 4IR in the past three decades. Between 1985 and 2014, the number of 4IR patent applications has increased tenfold, much more compared to general patenting, which “only” quadrupled. Among 4IR patent applications, patenting activity in core technologies has experienced the highest growth in the past decade and now represents the leading technological area in 4IR. The US is the undisputed leader in relation to the overall number of 4IR patent applications, accounting for nearly 30% of 4IR patent applications at the EPO. Yet, when we take into consideration the relative specialization of firms, the picture changes considerably with countries such as China and Canada in the spotlight. Firms filing 4IR patents have become progressively younger on average, thus suggesting that new players have entered the 4IR stage. At the same time, our results display a constant growth in the average number of 4IR patent applications filed yearly by each company, with the increase explained mainly by incumbent firms filing 4IR patent applications over time rather than new entrants progressively populating the 4IR world. Finally, we find that firms tend to specialize in few technological areas and avoid differentiation.

Contribution to Scholarship

We are the firsts to provide a thorough description of the 4IR patenting activity both at the patent and at the company level. Furthermore, our work provides an in-depth exploration of the 4IR, which is more European-centric compared to previous works. This is important as the bulk of the literature employs data from the USPTO, despite the importance of the EPO in worldwide patenting. Finally, our paper represents a starting point for studies assessing the impact of 4IR technologies on firms, as it sets out a new matched patent-firm data set.

Contribution to Practice

Our exploration offers several contributions to practice. It can be used as a tool to assess the recent trends in 4IR technologies and the characteristics of firms competing in the 4IR arena, relating to geographical distribution, age, and intensity in 4IR patenting. Moreover, our study offers a description of the strategies those firms are pursuing, in terms of 4IR technological fields that they cover.


Our paper has a perfect fit with key themes of the R&D Management conference in general and to Theme 7: Industry 4.0 in particular. Industry 4.0 is a crucial theme to the academic debate on innovation dynamics, and our paper provides an unprecedented description on this front.


J. E. Bessen, Automation and Jobs: When Technology Boosts Employment, Boston University School of Law, Law & Economics Paper No. 17-09 (2017)

EPO, Patents and the Fourth Industrial Revolution: The inventions behind digital transformation, European Patent Office, Munich, DE, (2017)

E. W., Felten, M. Raj, and R. Seamans, A Method to Link Advances in Artificial Intelligence to Occupational Abilities, AEA Papers and Proceedings, Vol. 108, pp. 54-57, (2018)

M. Webb, N. Short, N. Bloom, N. and J. Lerner, Some Facts of High Tech Patenting, NBER Working Paper No. 24793 (2018)

The challenging transition from Industry 4.0 to Society 5.0: the role of open innovation and value co-creation.

Barbara Aquilani1, Michela Piccarozzi2, Tindara Abbate3, Anna Codini4

1Department of Economics, Engineering, Society and Business Organization - University of 'Tuscia' of Viterbo, Italy; 2Department of Economics, Engineering, Society and Business Organization - University of 'Tuscia' of Viterbo, Italy; 3Department of Management - University of Messina, Italy; 4Department of Economics and Management - University of Brescia, Italy


Advanced manufacturing solution, augmented reality, cloud and big data are technologies pertaining to Industry 4.0. However, these same technologies can optimize people's lives and social coexistence in the future leading to the so-called “Society 5.0”. In this transition especially open innovation and value co-creation can play an important role.


Industry 4.0 is almost about manufacturing, but grounds on new technologies (Prause, 2017, p. 423) to adapt to changing environments (Koether, 2006, p. 583). It is “the result of a purposely formulated strategy implemented over time” (Piccarozzi, Aquilani, Gatti, 2018) able to lead to competitive advantage. The latter today grounds on innovation, the most important function of a firm (Von Hippel, 2005) often realized through open innovation processes not only with experts, firms, other organizations, etc., but also with customers (Aquilani and Abbate, 2014a; 2014b). Customers, from their side, desire to be involved in firms’ innovation processes and ask for a part of the co-created value (Ramaswamy and Ozcan, 2014). All individuals are part of the societydesired as “human-centered” able to “balance economic advancement with the resolution of social problems by a system that highly integrates cyberspace and physical space (eg. Society 5.0) (

Literature Gap

Society 5.0 has not yet studied at large and no papers were retrieved about links between Industry 4.0 and Society 5.0. Moreover, open innovation and value co-creation roles have not been studied at all in the transition from Industry 4.0 to Society 5.0 leaving the firms’ contribution unstudied.

Research Questions

Which are the most suited technologies to support the transition from Industry 4.0 to Society 5.0?

What role and how open innovation and value co-creation can support this transition?

Which is the interplay among the mentioned models and big data and why are they all necessary to achieve the transition?


The study first performs a brief literature review on Industry 4.0 – encompassing also its technologies such as big data-, Society 5.0, value co-creation and open innovation and then builds a conceptual framework to understand how these models and technologies can enable and support the transition from Industry 4.0 to Society 5.0. Therefore, this is a conceptual paper aimed at developing an unexplored domain.

Empirical Material

Not relevant.


As the domain of the research is quite new, we expect to draw a first picture of which models and/or tools could be more effective to enable and support the transition from Industry 4.0 to Society 5.0. Indeed, firms are the locus of innovation, they operate in societies and are influenced by them. Moreover, individuals who are the key for open innovation and value co-creation processes are the same that expect to live in “a human-centered society that balances economic advancement with the resolution of social problems by a system that highly integrates cyberspace and physical space” ( This framework would represent a first step towards the comprehension of what firms can do in order to enable this transition, but also which benefits, opportunities and threats can come from it. In this framework, indeed, it would be clear which main objectives can drive the decision making processes at a strategic level and which return can come from them where, for example sustainability play an important role. Some managerial implication are expected.

Contribution to Scholarship

We expect to start systematizing the literature on open innovation, value co-creation and industry 4.0 embracing a new approach focused on individuals desiring a better society and aware that technologies already used in firms can greatly help in building better societies.

Moreover, putting together different streams of literature, not still studied as a whole, would, hopefully, provide a first insight about firms as the engine to create better societies. Obviously, firms would seek to obtain benefits and new/different opportunities in respect to the past and should be aware that various and/or unknown threats can emerge and need to be managed and/or avoided. Therefore, we intend to understand which will be the drivers of future strategic decision-making processes and why some of them could emerge as essentials instead of others, together with new/different trade-offs and challenges to be met.

Contribution to Practice

The envisaged framework will provide a wider and more comprehensive picture to managers about their opportunities and threats in an changing context. It would help in envisaging a clearer link about all challenges coming along being aware of their links and mutual relationships. Moreover, firms could better understand which individuals’ need and request are more important for them, not only strictly related to their relationship with firms but at a more general level. This would enable them to find new and/or different way to co-create value and to share it with them.


The general theme of innovation is the core of the R&D Management conference and Industry 4.0, open innovation and value co-creation all falls in this domain. Research, industry and society are all themes encompassed in the proposed paper, also considering their mutual relationships and interplay in a comprehensive framework.


Aquilani, B. and Abbate, T. (2014a), «Open Innovation through Customers: Collaborative Web-Based Platforms for Ethically and Socially Responsible New Products - Part 1», in KAUFANN H.R., KHAN PANNI F.M.A. (eds.), Handbook of Research on Consumerism in Business and Marketing: Concepts and Practices, Business Science Reference (IGI Global), Hershey (PA): 335-374.

Aquilani, B. and Abbate, T. (2014b), «Open Innovation through Customers: Collaborative Web-Based Platforms for Ethically and Socially Responsible New Products - Part 2», in KAUFANN H.R., KHAN PANNI F.M.A. (eds.), Handbook of Research on Consumerism in Business and Marketing: Concepts and Practices, Business Science Reference (IGI Global), Hershey (PA): 375-412.

Koether, R. (2006), Taschenbuch der Logistik, 2nd ed., Hanser Verlag GmbH Co KG: Leipzig, Germany.

Piccarozzi, M., Aquilani, B. and Gatti, C. (2018), “Industry 4.0 in Management Studies: A Systematic Literature Review”, Sustainability, vol. 10, (paper n. 3821); doi:10.3390/su10103821

Prause, G. and Atari, S. (2017), “On sustainable production networks for Industry 4.0”, Entrep. Sustain vol. 4, 421–431.

Ramaswamy, V. and Ozcan, K. (2014), The co-creation paradigm, Stanford University Press, Stanford (CA).

Von Hippel, E. (2005), Democratizing innovation. MIT Press, Cambridge (MA).

Designed 4 all: How IoT technologies may foster inclusiveness, tourist experience and economic growth

Paola Beccherle1, Andrea Ganzaroli1, Ivan De Noni2

1Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy; 2Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy


Audiobooks, which were originally designed for visually impaired people, is one of the fastest growing market segments. This paper starts to reflect on how designing technologies for all may contribute to society 5.0. This done in the field of tourist accessibility for visually impaired people.


Regarding the promotion of cultural heritage, it was highlighted by Wecker et al. (2017) that it is possible, through the IoT, to create combined cultural paths, both indoor and outdoor, using the same touristic app. In this way it is possible to create a cross-promotion between museums and points of interest located in the city.

Meliones and Sampson (2018) have shown how it is possible to combine in one audioguide, using IoT technology, cultural contents and proximity acustic directions, bringing added value in terms of accessibility.

Some authors, such as Levesque and Boeck (2015), have highlighted how proximity marketing can improve consumer experience and customer loyalty through a high degree of personalization. This is true not only for large companies but also for small and medium-sized local businesses, which can improve their income through a direct link between online and physical world [Coursaris C.K., Sung, J., & Swierenga, S., 2010].

Literature Gap

Much has been done about the opportunities offered by IoT to individual sectors. However, the combination of proximity marketing, wayfinding and audioguides to create a unique, sustainable and synergistic system remains to be investigated.

Research Questions

-Is it possible, both technically and substantively, to integrate wayfiding, digital guide to cultural heritage and proximity marketing in one single smartphone application?

- Is it possible to make the product scalable and adaptable to different cities?


In order to comprehend how and if there is the possibility to combine the three previously described features, a study was conducted on an indoor/outdoor guide system in the city of Venice called “VATE Project”. It consists of a smartphone tour guide with geo-referenced contents that are activated near the points of interest of Piazza San Marco. A test was conducted with eight blind people to specifically try the wayfinding system. After the trial, a questionnaire was then given to them. In addition to this it has been useful to conduct a survey among tourists and commercial activities.

Empirical Material

Not applicable.


The experimentation showed that it is possible to combine the various functionalities both at a technical level and at a content level, with great interest from all the stakeholders involved.

On the other hand, it is possible to make the product scalable, starting from a quality content management system (CMS) platform and a good team specialized in audiodescription for the creation of content for the visually impaired.

The solution thus tested opens up to various other possibilities: gamification, integration and cross-promotion of indoor / outdoor cultural paths promoting the artistic heritage, alert in case of emergencies, activation of crowdfunding campaigns etc.

Contribution to Scholarship

The present research can give the academic community a starting point to do research in this interdisciplinary field that is still underdeveloped, but which offers many possibilities: it is a new way of thinking about the creation of value.

Contribution to Practice

The contribution of this research to the practice lies in thinking of a new type of tourism product in which all the agents of the tourism sector (tourists, local businesses, municipalities, museums, etc.) benefit from it by creating a win-win relationship. A product that combines different functions in an innovative way and guarantees the correct inclusiveness and accessibility of the cultural tourism experience.


The paper fully falls within the concepts of Society 5.0 and Industry 4.0 since it exposes the potential of the IoT for the resolution of social problems such as accessibility of cultural tourism experience by people with visual impairment, promoting at the same time local business activities and cultural Heritage.


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3. Wecker, A.J., Kuflik, T., Stock, O., (2017) AMuse: Connecting Indoor and Outdoor Cultural Heritage Experiences, IUI'17 Companion, March 13-16, Limassol, Cyprus

4. Meliones A., Sampson, D., (2018) Blind MuseumTourer: A System for Self-Guided Tours in Museums and Blind Indoor Navigation, Technologies 2018, 6, 4

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Building a framework for the use of servitization and public-private networks for public social innovation

Alberto Peralta, Luis Rubalcaba, Javier Carrillo-Hermosilla

University of Alcala, Spain


This is an ongoing research that aims to investigate value co-creation oriented to describe strong evidence-based foundations for public-private network strategies and mechanisms to enhance innovation within the public administrations. The overall goal of this project is to improve efficiency and the effective transformation of public service delivery


This study builds on theoretical frameworks including service innovation approaches like Gallouj, et al. (2018), Van der Have & Rubalcaba (2016) or Windrum, et al. (2016), and collective innovation theory (Gallouj, 2002).

The new public governance paradigm assumes public services as services and not as goods, similar to a “servitization” strategy, which means activating the movement from public products and services to solutions (Paiola et al., 2013, in Weigel & Hadwich, 2018), as a means to public service innovation. Our concept of public “servitization” represents a synthesis of the service science’s central role of humans to innovate service systems (Maglio & Spohrer, 2008), the role of skills and capabilities in the supply of services (Gallouj & Weinstein, 1997), the “Service-Dominant logic” co-creation of value by the recipient of that value and its provider (Vargo & Lusch, 2004), the Public Service Logic and the collaborative dimension of public institutions (Osborne, 2018)

Literature Gap

How social and services innovation in the public sector can be addressed using the servitization strategy. Our objectives: 1. Description of existence of PPN experiences and their relationship with servitization practices; 2. Deriving theoretical preliminary implications for multiagent frameworks in the public sector; 3. Deriving measurement, managerial, and policy implications

Research Questions

How can social and services innovation be addressed using the servitization strategy in the PPN context?


Review of relevant literature in Spanish and English.

Case studies

Empirical Material

Not relevant, being this a conceptual paper


Our results may describe how the co-creation of value for individuals and society through the servitization strategy developed by PPNs help resolve potential conflicts between those two recipients of value. Lessons will be drawn on:

a) the potential impacts of various configurations of networks on public service quality, efficiency and performance

b) the advantages/disadvantages of different types of network models

c) the implications for maximizing the effectiveness of resources in these networks using servitization, deriving theoretical preliminary hypotheses for multiagent frameworks in the public sector

d) the role of policy-makers in supporting the servitization strategy and the development of public-private networks

There are some foreseeable limitations to this servitization approach through PPNs to innovation of the public sector such as: silos and lack of skills, abiding laws, norms and habits

Contribution to Scholarship

The contribution of the paper clarifies how a servitization strategy activates social and services innovation for a greater good within a public administration, deriving theoretical implications of multiagent frameworks for goals the Administrations seek, related to their prevalent or most active guiding paradigm: better efficiency and coverage (TPA); increased competitiveness and adaptation (NPM); and improved ability to dynamically place the citizen and her needs in the center (NPG).

Contribution to Practice

The contribution of the paper clarifies how a servitization strategy activates social and services innovation for a greater good within a public administration, deriving theoretical implications of multiagent frameworks for goals the Administrations seek, related to their prevalent or most active guiding paradigm: better efficiency and coverage (TPA); increased competitiveness and adaptation (NPM); and improved ability to dynamically place the citizen and her needs in the center (NPG).


This research presents a novel conceptual approach to public-private networks, from a well-known strategy like servitization. It opens a perspective to social and services innovation, its aims and means of development and implementation, involving agility and non-linear processes, more adequate to the social and ecological environments of our current societies.


Gallouj, F. (2002). Innovation in services and the attendant old and new myths. Journal of Socio-Economics, 31, 137–154.

Gallouj, F., Rubalcaba, L., Windrum, P., & Toivonen, M. (2018). Understanding social innovation in service industries. Industry and Innovation, 25(6), 551–569.

Gallouj, F., & Weinstein, O. (1997). Innovation in services. Research Policy, 26(4–5), 537–556.

Maglio, P. P., & Spohrer, J. (2008). Fundamentals of service science. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci., 36(18).

Osborne, S. P. (2018). From public service-dominant logic to public service logic: are public service organizations capable of co-production and value co-creation? Public Management Review, 20(2), 225–231.

Van der Have, R., & Rubalcaba, L. (2016). Social innovation: an emerging research field? Research Policy, 45(9), 1923–1935.

Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. (2004). Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing. Journal of Marketing, 68(1), 1–17.

Weigel, S., & Hadwich, K. (2018). Success factors of service networks in the context of servitization – Development and verification of an impact model. Industrial Marketing Management, 74(April 2017), 254–275.

Windrum, P., Schartinger, D., Rubalcaba, L., Gallouj, F., & Toivonen, M. (2016). The Co-Creation of MultiAgent Social Innovations: A Bridge Between Service and Social Innovation Research. European Journal of Innovation Management, 19(2), 150–166.

Date: Friday, 21/Jun/2019
8:30am - 10:00am21-AM-02: G6 - Patents, Intellectual Property, and Innovation
Session Chair: Serena Flammini, University of Cambridge
Amphi Sauvy 

Do Patents Affect Prices?

Gaétan Jean A de Rassenfosse, Ling Zhou

École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland


The patent system involves a tradeoff between encouraging innovation and incurring inefficiency due to the monopoly power patent protection confers. The debate is not yet settled, and more research is needed on the costs and benefits of the patent system. One stream studies the private benefits associated with patent protection.


Existing literature on the value of patent protection seek to measure the so-called “patent premium”, defined as the proportional increment in value of patented invention over the un-patented counterparts. Previous scholars have shown a roughly 50% private return to patenting, measured either on firm level or using subjective survey on inventions (Arora et al. 2008; Jensen et al. 2011).

Much studies on the implications of patent protection focused on pharmaceutical products where patent exclusivity guarantees branded drugs substantial monopoly rents. Earlier contributions argue that branded producers distinguish themselves from generic entrants by patent-induced brand loyalty (Caves et al. 1991; Grabowski and Vernon 1992), evidence suggesting a slight decline in the price of branded drug after patent expiry as opposed to a much lower price for generic drugs. Hudson (2000) finds that highly profitable products enjoy exclusive benefits of patents for an extended period after expiry regardless of attracting more competition.

Literature Gap

Previous scholarly efforts nevertheless suffer from the limitations of data, i.e., the proxies for outcomes of patent premium are measured indirectly without reflecting the value of inventions. Besides, the unavailability of product data either overlooks the benefits of patent protection beyond patent lifespan or restricts the discussion to drug market.

Research Questions

In this paper, we aim to address the following research questions on top of an intuitive inquiry into whether patents affect prices: to what extend do product prices respond to patent expiry and how does the sensitivity of prices vary by the importance of patent as well as product categories.


We exploit the exogeneous switch of patent status from being active to expiry by browsing USPTO patent maintenance fees data, of which the expected expiry in our sample occurred predominantly during 2011–2018. We adopt fixed-effects specification to estimate the effects of patent expiry on the market price of products.

Empirical Material

A sample of 740 products belonging to 44 companies is drawn from a novel database that identifies correspondences between innovative products and the patents upon which they are built through virtual patent marking (VPM) web pages. Since most products fall into the categories of computers, consumer electronics, and consumer goods, we make use of Amazon price history data as well as manually collected product-level information to construct a weekly panel dataset spanning from 2011 to 2018.


Our findings demonstrate that patent expiry leads to about 9% decline in product prices after controlling for product age and availability of successive generations. Whereas expiry of utility patents negatively affects product prices, this negative impact turns statistically insignificant for designs.

Contribution to Scholarship

Our paper departs from existing research on the private returns to patenting by focusing on a broad range of products that have never been studied. In doing so, we contribute to the debate on the effectiveness of patent protection in deferring competition by probing the price dynamics of incumbent innovative producers.

Contribution to Practice

Our research also has far-reaching implications for policy-makers regarding the effectiveness of patent protection. We also contribute to understanding the persistence of benefits of patent protection for innovative firms in off-patent periods.


Our paper relates to the theme of this year’s R&D Management Conference by shedding light on efficient innovation policy implemented to stimulate innovative activities. Our estimates provide new insights on the private value of patents and, therefore, on the effectiveness of patent system.


Arora, A., Ceccagnoli, M., & Cohen, W. M. (2008). R&D and the patent premium. International journal of industrial organization, 26(5), 1153-1179.

Caves, R. E., Whinston, M. D., Hurwitz, M. A., Pakes, A., & Temin, P. (1991). Patent expiration, entry, and competition in the US pharmaceutical industry. Brookings papers on economic activity. Microeconomics, 1991, 1-66.

Grabowski, H. G., & Vernon, J. M. (1992). Brand loyalty, entry, and price competition in pharmaceuticals after the 1984 Drug Act. The journal of law and economics, 35(2), 331-350.

Hudson, J. (2000). Generic take-up in the pharmaceutical market following patent expiry: a multi-country study. International Review of Law and Economics, 20(2), 205-221.

Jensen, P. H., Thomson, R., & Yong, J. (2011). Estimating the patent premium: Evidence from the Australian Inventor Survey. Strategic Management Journal, 32(10), 1128-1138.

Do cohorts matter for technology transfer? The role of IP coordinators' cohorts at technology transfer offices

Dolores Modic1, Jana Suklan2

1NORD University Business School, Norway; 2NIHR Newcastle, Newcastle University, UK


University technology transfer is a big and controversial business, administered by a growing occupational group, Intellectual property (IP) coordinators.

This paper explores the cohort effect, answering the question whether IP coordinators in same cohort exhibit similar patterns in patenting and licensing, thus contributing to the university technology transfer literature.


Van Maanen, J. E., and Schein, E. H. (1979). Toward a theory of organizational socialization. Research in Organizational Behavior, 1, 209-264.

Allen, N. J., and Meyer, J. P. (1990). Organizational socialization tactics: A longitudinal analysis of links to newcomers' commitment and role orientation. Academy of management journal, 33(4), 847-858.

Joshi, A., Dencker, J. C., Franz, G. and Martocchio, J. J. (2010). Unpacking generational identities in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 35(3), 392-414.

Zheng Y, Miner A, George G (2013) Does the learning value of individual failure experience depend on group-level success? Insights from a university technology transfer office. Industrial and Corporate Change, 22, 1557–1586.

Lemley, M A. and Sampat, B. (2012). Examiner Characteristics and Patent Office Outcomes. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 94(3), 817–827.

Frakes, M. D. and Wasserman, M. F. (2016). Patent Office Cohorts, Duke Law Journal, 65, 1601-1655.

Literature Gap

Technology transfer literature using the concept of cohorts has focused on researchers (e.g. Rappa and Debackere, 1995) and not on technology transfer staff. Cohort effect has also been recorded for a similar group of experts, patent examiners (Frakes and Wasserman, 2016). Similar works encompassing technology transfer offices remain absent.

Research Questions

The main research question of this paper is if cohorts matter in terms of the efficiency of technology transfer offices.

We focus on following hypotheses:

H1: Coordinators in the same cohort exhibit similar patenting patterns.

H2: Coordinators in the same cohort have similar level of success and experience in licensing.


Descriptive and discriminant analysis was done for patent and licensing data.

Correlation matrix gave us an initial insight. We used several dependent variable groups: 1) cognitive proximity, 2) success factors, 3) working practices and 4) organizational features.

Discriminant function analysis (DFA) helped us classify cases and the probability of their classification into groups (defined as cohort). Along with understanding the homogeneity of cases processed by coordinators within a certain group, we also tested whether the method recognizes different licensing and patenting patterns between the cohorts. Based on theory driven approach, we obtained a high percent of correctly classified cases.

Empirical Material

For the analysis we build a database using the university’s patent applications data from year 1984 to 2014 merged with licensing (and re-assignment) agreements data. Data processing and merging of the databases was done using STATA 15, data analysis was further enriched using SPSS 23. The final dataset for the analysis was time series data.

In order to gain an accurate picture of the cases assigned to individual IP Coordinators, we needed to acquire two more types of human resource related data. Firstly, their employment data provided information on the term of their engagement in patenting and licensing activities. Secondly, we added data on assignment and reassignment of cases. Sole reliance on administrative data connected to patents and licensing, would give us only a static picture. Static picture could be inaccurate, as cases regularly get assigned and reassigned.

Our database included 18393 cases of IP Coordinators handling patent cases, some of them licensed and some not. A sub-sample is that of only licensed cases (845 cases). We conceptualize cohorts according to the time when coordinator started his work. For this paper we defined 3 groups, carefully selecting the cut-off points.


The exploration into how experience and social interactions influence individuals’ behaviours is new in the context of technology transfer offices (TTO).

Our analysis demonstrates that the year in which an IP coordinator is hired, has an effect on their patenting and licensing proclivities. Variations between cohorts suggest that IP coordinators may follow distinct and enduring practices throughout their career, as influenced by the prevailing practices inside the TT at the time of hiring.

Yet at the first glance, the biggest distinctions between IP coordinator cases inside different cohorts do not seem to be connected with their immediate licensing and patenting output, but rather with the underlying mechanisms and practices, such as their cognitive proximity attitudes.

Our analysis holds a number of important implications for public policy in the field of technology transfer and the organizational competitive advantage of individual universities, as IP coordinators can be catalysts for commercialization success. Knowledge reservoirs (Argote and Ingram, 2000), that include people, tools and tasks (or practices) have the ability to effect knowledge transfer and with it also organisational competitive advantage of organisations. Furthermore, our results are relevant to the ongoing debates about the disperse rates of technology transfer across different technology transfer offices.

Contribution to Scholarship

Cohorts and their potential effects are under-conceptualized and under-researched in terms of different groups inside the technology transfer processes. We present a model allowing for assessment of cohorts’ effects in technology transfer offices, and test the model on individual level data.

Indeed, it is not even clear if this effects exist or not, although knowledge reservoirs that include people, tools and tasks (or practices) have the ability to effect knowledge transfer (Argote and Ingram, 2000), and with it also organizational competitive advantage of organizations, in our case universities. To be able to discern if such effects exist, we carefully construct several groups of independent variables: cognitive proximity, success factor and organizational features.

Contribution to Practice

We advance knowledge on the underlying activities of the technology transfer staff (i.e. IP coordinators), i.e. “a profession in the making” (Owen-Smith, 2011). We do so, by not only using hard-to-acquire individual level data, but also by combining the patenting and licensing data with HR data and case re-allocation data. The later are especially important as it allows us to upgrade the static pictures of licensing and patenting activities of IP Coordinators and utilize data reflecting the dynamic nature of technology transfer processes.

Among numerous organization level recommendations, e.g. systematically supporting inter-cohort knowledge exchange, we also offer policy recommendations.


The conference’s theme is “bridging research, industry and society”. We focus on a key, but mostly overlooked, bridging groups in the university technology transfer (TT): technology transfer offices’ staff. Studied mostly as an homogeneous group, we however focus on their subgroups and explore how cohorts affect outcomes of TT processes.


Argote, L. and Ingram, P. (2000). Knowledge transfer: A basis for competitive advantage in firms. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 82(1), 150-169.

Frakes, M. D. and Wasserman, M. F. (2016). Patent Office Cohorts, Duke Law Journal, 65, 1601-1655.

Owen-Smith J. (2011). The institutionalization of expertise in university licensing. Theory and Society, 40, 63–94.

Rappa, M. A. and Debackere, K. (1995). An analysis of entry and persistence among scientists in an emerging field of science: the case of neural networks. R&D Management 25, (3), 323-341.

Understanding The Architectural Control of Complex Systems under Collaborative Standardization : An Analysis of The Flow and Network of Technologies in The Mobile Telecommunication Sector

Masanori Yasumoto1, Jing-Ming Shiu2, Shangke Wang1, Tohru Yoshioka3

1Yokohama National University, Japan; 2National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan; 3The University of Tokyo


Opening technologies through standardization is considered as one of the critical strategies to encourage a variety of firms to develop complementary goods and technologies (Gawer and Cusumano, 2002; West, 2003). However, when technologies are standardized through interfirm collaboration, even leading incumbents will lose control over their own technologies and advantages.


Even though opening their technologies to public, leading firms, such as platform leaders, can maintain technologies within their control by their proprietary standards (Arikan and Schilling, 2011; Baldwin and Woodard, 2009). Such capabilities is called architectural control. Architectural control is a sort of ability to control the rate at which the technology is upgraded, refined, or its compatibility with previous generations and thereby exert influence on influence technological trajectories and other firms (Arikan and Schilling, 2011; Morris and Ferguson, 1993).

Meanwhile, as systems become complex and thus developed across firms, firms attempt to standardize fundamental technologies in the form of non-exclusive standards through collaborative activities (i.e., standard bodies/consortiums) (Leiponen, 2008; Simcoe, 2012). Different from the case of proprietary standards by specific leading firms (David and Greenstein, 1990), such unsponsored standards on complex systems do not allow even leading firms to preserve architectural control over their technologies.

Literature Gap

When standards are set up by standardization consortium of multiple firms, any firms can hardly control the standards and related-technologies at their disposal. Nevertheless, it is still unknown how leading firms can construct and secure their architectural control over the technologies of complex systems under such collaborative standardization.

Research Questions

Prior researches pays little attention to architectural control over complex systems under the technology-sharing regime of collaborative standardization. Thus, this study aims to complement the research gap by revealing how firms can secure their architectural control over the relevant technologies of complex systems under collaborative standardization.


Drawing on the studies of firms’ knowledge and effective innovations (Yayavaram and Ahuja, 2008), this study quantitatively examined the flows and networks of technologies within and across firms with the UCINET tools. First, we considered the longitudinal data of the number of citations (degree centrality), as a measure of architecture control, of each selected firm’s SEPs (standard essential patents) by other firms’ proprietary patents. Second, we conducted a network analysis to examine each firm’s knowledge by the densities of networks by technology specifications and SEPs. Finally, we examined the relationship between the degree centrality and the knowledge density across firms.

Empirical Material

Based on the previous studies on the mobile telecommunication sector (e.g., Bekkers, et al., 2002; Davies, 1999), we can examine the architectural control in the sector by using reliable data from standardization organizations (3GPP and ETSI) and the US and European patent offices. How to increase the degrees of architectural control over a complex system such as telecommunication system has been discussed in the MIT communications future program as well.

After the classification by patent families units and data cleansing, we obtained the data of 25,292 declared SEPs linked with technology specifications from 1990 to 2016 from ETSI in Oct., 2017. Further, we extracted the data of 25 major firms which accounts for about 90 percent of the total SEP activities. At the same time, we classified and examined SEPs by the five large classes of technology specifications downloaded from 3GPP.

For proprietary patents, we downloaded the all proprietary patents, about 910,000 published patents, of 25 firms from the Espacenet patent database without limitation on time period in May, 2017. Then, by integrating the database of proprietary patents with that of SEPs, we generated the data of more than 100,000 patent forward citations by proprietary patents from SEPs.


The results showed that the number of citations by other firms increases with the densities of knowledge (p.<0.01). Typically, leading incumbents and technology providers have been cited by other firms with high frequency. Typically, Qualcomm’s SEPs have been cited by other firms more than 20,000 times. Accordingly, such firms have accumulated high densities of knowledge. Meanwhile, new entrants (e.g., Samsung, LG) and the Japanese firms which show low densities of knowledge have been far less cited by other firms (each firm have been cited less than 3,000).

Thus, we can argue that firms possess higher densities of knowledge can have higher degrees of architecture control even under the technology-sharing regime of collaborative standardization. Though it may require more rigorous statistical examinations including other variables, the result indicates that those firms which attract many citations from other firms are presumed to build effective knowledge on technology systems at a high density, and thereby generate effective innovations that drives the technologies and industry concerned.

Contribution to Scholarship

Although theories and methods need to be refined in a more rigorous way in the future, this study contributes to scholarships in the following senses. This study provides comprehensive implications of leading firms’ architectural control under collaborative standardization which encourages technology spillover and sharing between firms (European Commission, 2014). The approach and perspective proposed in this study will contribute to revealing architectural control under collaborative standardization in terms of systemic knowledge (Fleming and Sorenson, 2001) and capabilities to generate effective innovations (Yayavaram and Ahuja, 2008). In addition, this study proposes methods to understand firms’ knowledge across multiple technologies and its relationship with architectural control.

Contribution to Practice

This study’s perspective and method on the dynamism of firms’ knowledge and innovations will expand practical debates on the strategy of opening technologies particularly for complex systems developed by multiple firms (e.g., IoT). Our results will help practitioners understand the critical factors to control technologies opened through collaborative standardization.


This study tackles the problem of firms’ innovation strategies related to the industrial and societal adoption and diffusion of systemic technologies thorough collective standardization. The attempt contributes to the conference theme, “The Innovation Challenge, “ particularly "Theme 6: Radical and Systemic Innovation.”


Arıkan, A. T., and Schilling, M. A. (2011). Structure and governance in industrial districts- implications for competitive advantage. Journal of Management Studies, 48(4), 772-803.

Baldwin, C., and Woodard, J. (2009). The architecture of platforms - A unified view. In Gawer, A. (ed.), Platforms, markets and innovation. (pp. 19–44) Edward Elgar, London.

Bekkers, R., Duysters, G., and Verspagen, B. (2002). Intellectual property rights, strategic technology agreements and market structure: The case of GSM. Research Policy, 31(7), 1141-1161.

David, P. A., and Greenstein, S. (1990). The economics of compatibility standards: An introduction to recent research. Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 1(1-2), 3-41.

Davies, A. (1999). Innovation and competitiveness in complex product systems: The case of mobile phone systems. In Bastos, M. I. and Mitter, S. (eds.), Europe and developing countries in the globalized information economy: Employment and distance education. UNU/INTECH studies in new technology and development, Routledge.

European Commission (2014). Patents and standards: A modern framework for IPR-based standardization, European Union.

Fleming, L. and Sorenson, O. (2001). Technology as a complex adaptive system: Evidence from patent data. Research Policy, 30(7), 1019-1039.

Gawer, A., and Cusumano, M. A. (2002). Platform leadership: How Intel, Microsoft, and Cisco drive industry innovation. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Leiponen, A. (2008). Competing through cooperation: The organization of standard setting in wireless telecommunications. Management Science, 54(11), 1904-1919.

Simcoe, T. (2012). “Standard Setting Committees: Consensus Governance for Shared Technology Platforms,” American Economic Review, 102(1), 305-336.

Weiss, M. and Cargill, C. (1992). Consortia in the Standards Development Process, Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 43(8), 559-565.

West, J. (2003). How open is open enough? Melding proprietary and open source platform strategies. Research Policy, 32, 1259-1285.

Yayavaram, S. and Ahuja, G. (2008). Decomposability in knowledge structures and its impact on the usefulness of inventions and knowledge-base malleability. Administrative Science Quarterly, 53, 333-362.

Integrating Patent Management and R&D – An explorative analysis of the new product development process

Lilian Hardorp, Cihat Cengiz, Frank Tietze

University of Cambridge, United Kingdom


Patent-related activities, such as securing freedom to operate (FTO), positively influence a new product’s success [5]. However, low patent awareness among R&D personnel and limited patenting resources lead to lacking guidance and missed opportunities [4]. Firms therefore seek to integrate patent management efficiently along the development process of new products.


The main body of literature reviewed in this study is the existing work on cross-functional integration of IP management and R&D [14], particularly the development of new products (NPD) [8,10], which reveals a significant positive influence of patent management integration on NPD success [5,13]. This is put in broader context by the literature on general cross-functional integration of departments within firms and the different dimensions of the interdepartmental integration [9].

Additionally, multiple relevant academic literature streams are combined, such as definitions of what patent management precisely consists of and thus how it is differentiated from other development processes [6,7], as well as the theory of organisational resource dependence [12].

Literature Gap

NPD has been shown to profit from patent management [5], but not how and when both fields should be integrated. Integration into early stages was found to be beneficial [8,14], but the existing studies lack precision about efficient timing and the exact NPD activities that patent management can support.

Research Questions

How is patent management integrated along the stages in the new product development process?

How can patent management efficiently support NPD activities?


Qualitative research is used to discover new phenomena [11]. To understand how patent management is integrated into NPD, this study uses explorative semi-structured interviews and interactive workshops with both NPD and patent management employees from selected manufacturing firms from R&D-intensive sectors. Following the logic of polar sampling [3], one firm was deliberately chosen for its low R&D-intensity to provide a contrasting case to R&D-intensive firms for a clear pattern recognition of central constructs.

Empirical Material

25 interviews and 2 workshops were conducted via Skype, telephone or in person. Interviewees were guided through the R&D-based stages of the stage-gate innovation process by Cooper [1], namely idea generation, scoping, business case and development. The interviewers indicated where patent management activities take place in their firms and why. When needed, the model was adapted to the NPD process model in place at the respective firm.

The investigated firms are from manufacturing industries which are traditionally R&D-intensive, which, in turn, is shown to be correlated with substantial patenting activities [2]. In particular, the sampling covered a range of different industries including the automotive, automation, chemical, electrical and wind energy industries, elevator and heating and cooling technologies, as well as manufacturing plants. Data was collected both from NPD and patent management representatives.

In two cases, it was possible to conduct workshops to gather data interactively from several firm representatives. One workshop was conducted virtually by means of the online workshop software ‘Stormboard’. The other was conducted at the firm’s headquarter. All firms operate internationally whilst all except one have their headquarters in Germany. The exception is the one case chosen for polar sampling purposes and is headquartered in Spain.


The data shows that patent management continuously accompanies NPD. Patent management support appears to be necessary in NPD from early stages onwards and is especially important at the scoping stage, where ideas are mature, whilst no heavy development investments have occurred yet. In the later stages, the integration decreases.

By analysing how patent management activities can support NPD activities, and how important this support is for NPD compared to other patent management activities, patent management and NPD “activity pairs” along the NPD stages were revealed. At the scoping stage, the NPD activity "feasibility testing" is supported by means of an extensive FTO, "market assessment" by a patent database analysis, and "technical assessment" by investing competitors’ patents for inspiration. The activity pairs taking place at the other stages are the following:

Idea generation:

● Looking for available technologies internally and externally - Searching patents inside

and outside the firms

● Sketch scenarios of future product: Checking IPRs of third parties - developing

strategies around others’ IPRs

● Idea formulation - Patent research as driver for new ideas

Business case:

● Detailed product definition - Final FTO


● Specification of product and production parts - Final FTO of details, product

improvements evaluated for possible new patents

Contribution to Scholarship

This study contributes to the previous literature showing the positive impact of patent management integration into R&D processes [13,5], and that the different phases of NPD processes incorporate different IP-related activities [8,10,14]. By revealing activity pairs of NPD and patent management that indicate the direct connection and support of patent management for NPD, this study provides an in-depth qualitative analysis where, unlike precedent studies, a detailed investigation into different NPD stages to identify the timing and relevance of patenting activities was undertaken. This way, the scoping stage was identified as being particularly heavy on integration between the NPD and patent management.

The sampling includes various firms across different manufacturing industries and therefore focusses on firms that conduct substantial patenting activities. Thus, implications are derived from relatively mature patent management concepts and contribute towards enlarging the literature on R&D and IP management integration.

Contribution to Practice

The stage-gate innovation process is often applied in practice, and the NPD activities that this study shows to be supported by patent management take place across many different NPD processes. The integration of patent management activities with NPD activities that the interviewees reported for every stage can be used by those in charge (e.g. the head of innovation or technology manager) as a guideline to structure patent management processes along NPD.

The findings are particularly useful for firms that have limited resources devoted to patent management and hence a strong need for efficient patent management integration in NPD.


Patents are a means to protect and incentivise the creation of innovations in corporate R&D. Yet, IP in general, and patents in particular, receive low awareness within R&D. An efficient integration of managing patents can, however, help to transform as much innovative research as possible into successful commercialised products.


[1] Cooper, R. (1990): Stage-gate systems: A new tool for managing new products, Business Horizons, 33(3), 44–54.

[2] Duguet, E.; Kabla, I. (1998): Appropriation strategy and the motivations to use the patent system: An econometric analysis at the firm level in french manufacturing, Annales d'Économie et de Statistique (49/50), 289–327.

[3] Eisenhardt, K. M.; Graebner, M. E. (2007): Theory building from cases: Opportunities and challenges. Academy of management journal, 50(1), 25-32.

[4] Ernst, H. (2017): Intellectual property as a management discipline, Technology & Innovation, 19(2), 481–492.

[5] Ernst, H.; Fischer, M. (2014): Integrating the R&D and patent functions: Implications for new product performance, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31(4), 118–132.

[6] Faix, A. (1998): Patente im strategischen Marketing: Sicherung der Wettbewerbsfähigkeit durch systematische Patentanalyse und Patentnutzung, E. Schmidt, Berlin.

[7] Gassmann, O.; Bader, M. A. (2011): Patentmanagement: Innovationen erfolgreich nutzen und schützen, 3. ed., Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, Berlin, Heidelberg.

[8] Großmann, A.-M.; Filipović, E.; Lazina, L. (2016): The strategic use of patents and standards for new product development knowledge transfer, R&D Management, 46(2), 312–325.

[9] Kahn, K. (1996): Interdepartmental integration: A definition with implications for product development performance, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 13(2), 137–151.

[10] Manzini, R.; Lazzarotti, V. (2016): Intellectual property protection mechanisms in collaborative new product development. R&D Management, 46(S2), 579-595.

[11] Miles, M. B.; Huberman, A. M. (1994): Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook, 2. ed., SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks.

[12] Pfeffer, J.; Salancik, G. R. (1978): The external control of organizations: A resource dependence perspective., Harper & Row, New York.

[13] Somaya, D.; Williamson, I.; Zhang, X. (2007): Combining patent law expertise with R&D for patenting performance, 18(6), 922–937.

[14] Soranzo, B.; Nosella, A.; Filippini, R. (2017): Redesigning patent management process: An action research study, Management Decision, 55(6), 1100–1121.

1:00pm - 2:30pm21-PM1-02: ST8.4 - Open Innovation in SMEs
Session Chair: Diane Poulin, Université Laval
Session Chair: Carène Tchuinou Tchouwo, Université Laval
Amphi Sauvy 

Exploring SMEs’ open innovation practices diversity in different countries.

Elodie Pillon1,2, Thomas Loilier2



Open Innovation (OI) concept has been studying for a long time in large firms, neglecting SMEs (Kirschbaum, 2005; Ollila & Elmquist, 2011). Even if these entities were excluded from the mainstream discussion on OI, this model seems to be especially relevant for SMEs, but only if it is fully understand.


Several researchers have identified OI as a lever strategy to overcome the typical weaknesses of SMEs (Van de Vrande, De Jong, Vanhaverbeke, & De Rochemont, 2009; Verbano, Crema, & Venturini, 2015), such as resource constraints, lack of competences (Bougrain & Haudeville, 2002; Dahlander & Gann, 2010; Lee, Park, Yoon, & Park, 2010; Rahman & Ramos, 2010; Wynarczyk, Piperopoulos, & McAdam, 2013). Unlike large companies generally more rigid, SMEs’ flexibility and unbureaucratic nature make them particularly suited to implement OI practices, thus increasing the probability of adopting the approach effectively. (Dufour & Son, 2015; González-Benito, Muñoz-Gallego, & García-Zamora, 2016; Parida, Westerberg, & Frishammar, 2012).

Based on research work addressing OI practices, a list of eleven OI practices was obtained: open-source, user involvement, crowdsourcing, know-how acquisition, joint R&D, research consortium, in-sourcing, licensing-out, alliances, venture and spin-off.

Literature Gap

Open innovation paradigm was initially based on large high-tech companies (Chesbrough, 2006). In recent years, research on OI in SMEs has quickly grown, and shows that OI do not have a universal character. Same models cannot be applied to both small and large entities (Stanisławski & Lisowska, 2015).

Research Questions

Our exploratory study shows that no OI practice is mostly adopted and this practices differ from one country to another. The addressed question is are there some socio-economic and scientific characteristics that influence open innovation practices adoption?


To determine how practices are correlated to some criteria of innovation country performance used to estimate the Global Innovation Index, we applied multiple linear regressions. First of all, we begin by identifying the more correlated criteria from those identified. Then we made a correlation test to eliminate three variables and keep the others. The obtained correlation matrix was also used to evaluate the dependency between innovation country performance variables and OI practices.

Empirical Material

Previous studies focused on OI practices adopted by SMEs in Korea (Ahn et al., 2015), Germany (Van de Vrande et al., 2009), UK (Cosh & Zhang, 2011) and Italy (Bigliardi & Galati, 2016). These studies focus on seven practices (in-sourcing, joint R&D, M&A, user involvement, licensing-out, open-sourcing and know-how acquisition) frequently observed with positive effects (Mazzola, Bruccoleri, & Perrone, 2012).


As already mentioned, none of these seven open innovation practices is mainly adopted by these four countries. Also, the correlation matrix evinces :

• In-sourcing is influenced by none of this criteria.

• Joint R&D and know-how acquisition are influenced only by the number of patents

• Open-source is affected only by working population with higher education.

• M&A is not correlated to working population with higher education.

• User-involvement is independent of working population with higher education.

The multiple linear regression allows understanding how some country’s characteristics affect adoption Open Innovation practices adoption.

Contribution to Scholarship

By this study, we confirmed that OI is not a universal character. Its adoption seems to be affected by socio-economic and scientific characteristics of the environment in which the company operates. To fully understand the Open Innovation adoption, it is necessary to consider external characteristics

Contribution to Practice

Our results highlight the importance to consider external characteristics to understand fully the OI adoption. This study can help practionner to guide their strategic choices regarding the implementation of open innovation practices.


To have a better understanding of open innovation in SMEs, this study aims to analyse the open innovation practices adoption by SMEs by proposing an analytical analysis based on socio-economic and scientific characteristics.


Bougrain, F., & Haudeville, B. (2002). Innovation, collaboration and SMEs internal research capacities. Research Policy, 31(5), 735‑747.

Chesbrough, H. (2006). Open business models : How to Thrive in the New Innovation Landscape.

Dahlander, L., & Gann, D. (2010). How open is innovation? Research Policy, 39(6), 699‑709.

Dufour, J., & Son, P.-E. (2015). Open innovation in SMEs : towards formalization of openness. Journal of Innovation Management, 3(3), 90‑117.

González-Benito, Ó., Muñoz-Gallego, P., & García-Zamora, E. (2016). Role of collaboration in innovation success: differences for large and small businesses. Journal of Business Economics and Management, 17(4), 645‑662.

Kirschbaum, R. (2005). Open innovation in practice. Research Technology Management, 48(4), 24‑28.

Lee, S., Park, G., Yoon, B., & Park, J. (2010). Open innovation in SMEs-An intermediated network model. Research Policy, 39(2), 290‑300.

Ollila, S., & Elmquist, M. (2011). Managing open innovation: exploring challenges at the interfaces of an open innovation arena. Creativity and Innovation Management, 20(4), 273‑283.

Parida, V., Westerberg, M., & Frishammar, J. (2012). Inbound Open Innovation Activities in High-Tech SMEs: The Impact on Innovation Performance. Journal of Small Business Management, 50(2), 283‑309.

Rahman, H., & Ramos, I. (2010). Open Innovation in SMEs: From closed boundaries to networked paradigm. Informing Science and Information Technology, 7(4), 471‑487.

Stanisławski, R., & Lisowska, R. (2015). The Relations between Innovation Openness (Open Innovation) and the Innovation Potential of SMEs. Procedia Economics and Finance, 23(October 2014), 1521‑1526.

Van de Vrande, V., De Jong, J. P. J., Vanhaverbeke, W., & De Rochemont, M. (2009). Open innovation in SMEs: Trends, motives and management challenges. Technovation, 29(6‑7), 423‑437.

Verbano, C., Crema, M., & Venturini, K. (2015). The Identification and Characterization of Open Innovation Profiles in Italian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. Journal of Small Business Management, 53(4), 1052‑1075.

Wynarczyk, P., Piperopoulos, P., & McAdam, M. (2013). Open innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises: An overview. International Small Business Journal, 31(3), 240‑255.

Open innovation practices flexibility in a Thai food manufacturing SME

Xavier Francis Etienne Pierre PARISOT1, Throngvid Hongsaprabhas1, Thierry ISCKIA2, Dongcheol HEO1

1The Institute for Knowledge and Innovation, Bangkok University, Thailand; 2Institut Mines-Télécom Business School


During the past decades, Food and Beverage Industry (FBI) value chain's actors faced an increasingly competitive race to better meet customer demands, shortened product life cycles & time-to-market and still differentiate themselves from their competitors (Bellairs, 2010).


This growth in velocity and volatility is complexified by the difficulties to meet simultaneously various institutional requirements (Sarkar & Costa, 2008) e.g. growing attention is needed to meet the Thai Food Safety Regulation institution's demands.

Therefore, the driving forces of FBI SMEs’ innovation have evolved through the development of new internal and external innovation dynamics. SMEs implement new product development (NPD) processes and create and/or apply creative technological solutions. If these processes were first developed in proprietary logic, external technologies, skills, and knowledge are more and more leveraged using collective innovation strategies (Traitler et al., 2011; Saguy & Sirotinskaya, 2014; Bigliardi & Galati 2016; Vanhaverbeke, et al. 2018; Bigliardi, 2019). This innovation logics’ paradigm shift (Moore, 1993; Chesbrough, 2003) is of particular importance for SMEs which cannot control all the required resources to innovate and are therefore forced to partner with complementary organizations (Capitanio et al., 2010).

Literature Gap

If OI logics in SMEs are now better illustrated (Vanhaverbeke, et al. 2018), OI practices implemented in FBI SMEs remain poorly understood. Height models of OI implementation have been proposed (Bigliardi & Galati, 2016) and, only one explores OI practices implemented by FBI SMEs (Bigliardi & Galati, 2013).

Research Questions

Is the theoretical food machinery framework model (Bigliardi & Galati, 2013) matching OI logics and practices observed empirically in a Thai FBI SME?


The food machinery framework model (Bigliardi & Galati, 2013) has been applied in a diachronic case study of one SME: Sahapan Century Co. Ltd. (SHC), a Thai food machinery company. OI practices, as defined by van de Vrande et al. (2009), are identified in a critical realist perspective among 76 NPD projects over a period of 5 years from 2012 to 2017. SHC is considered as the core actor in its network. Knowledge flows are analyzed by focusing on food recipes at the Lab-scale and Manufacturing-scale which are most of the time connected but can be achieved independently.

Empirical Material

Non-structured interviews have been conducted with SHC executives and all the involved NPD partners. National Institutions, regulatory bodies e.g. Thai Food and Drug Administration, testing laboratories, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, and end consumers are considered as other suppliers.

To ensure 1) that the empirical data collected have been adequately analyzed and interpreted, and 2) that saturation has been reached, one series of interviews have been conducted every week over a period of 6 months. This process also allows to enrich progressively the data collected and to respect Pierce's ([1931-1935]) recursive loop refinement process and Bhaskar (2013) critical realist perspective.

OI logics are established using exchange flows. When OI is coupled, volumes of resources exchanged (recipe, tacit knowledge, explicit knowledge, technology, ingredients...) are considered to define the inbound or outbound dominance. OI practices associated with each NPD are qualified and classified using the typology of Van de Vrande et al. (2009) at the lab-scale and the manufacturing scale. When the observed practices didn’t match the typology, new categories have been created and characterized.


OI practices identified empirically reveal 14 different main categories: 7 in technology exploration and 7 categories in technology exploitation. Six additional OI practices have been added to van de Vrande’s et al. (2009) typology: 2 in technology exploration, 4 in technology exploitation.

Moreover, the food machinery framework model appears to be too generic to distinguish all the empirically observed combinations of OI practices. Therefore, 5 declinations of that model are proposed to better specify knowledge flows and their associated inter-organizational OI coupling mechanisms.

The case study reveals that the choice of OI practices depends on the type of partnerships and, the technological particularities of the recipe to develop.

Finally, the growing operational agility of the observed SME also demonstrated that his business model evolved from a food machinery company to an innomediary (Mele & Russo-Spena, 2015).

Contribution to Scholarship

The present case study aims at supporting OI logics and practices theorization and modeling in FBI SMEs. By entering the black box of operational routines recombination, this study helps 1) to characterize the generative mechanisms (and their associated triggering factors) involved in dynamic capabilities’ development (Teece et al., 1997) and 2) to understand how FBI organizations co-evolve their dynamic capabilities (Teece, 2017) to trigger the emergence of innovation ecosystems (Parisot et al., 2019).

Contribution to Practice

This empirical testing of 1) van de Vrande's et al. (2009) OI practices' typology and 2) the food machinery framework model (Bigliardi & Galati, 2013) contributes to a more fine-grained understanding of FBI SMEs coordination processes in their innovation ecosystems and, paves the way for further empirical characterization of yet unidentified OI generative mechanisms.


In FBI, innovation is increasingly led by ecosystems exploiting SME's creative ideas. To help organizations build or join these ecosystems, strategic management must move from description to prediction and, produce theoretical models able to support ecosystemic generative and activation mechanisms identification through empirical validation.


1-Bellairs, J., 2010. Open innovation gaining momentum in the food industry. Cereal foods world, Vol.55, n°1, p.4-6.

2-Bhaskar, R. (2013). A realist theory of science. Routledge.

3-Bigliardi, B. (2019). Open Innovation and Traditional Food. In Innovations in Traditional Foods (pp. 85-99). Woodhead Publishing.

4-Bigliardi, B., & Galati, F. (2013). Models of adoption of open innovation within the food industry. Trends in Food Science & Technology, Vol.30, n°1, p.16-26.

5-Bigliardi, B., & Galati, F. (2016). Open innovation and incorporation between academia and food industry. In Innovation Strategies in the Food Industry (pp. 19-39). Academic Press.

6-Capitanio, F., Coppola, A., Pascucci, S. (2010). Product and process innovation in the Italian food industry. Agribusiness, An International Journal, Vol.26, p.503–518.

7-Chesbrough, H. W. (2003). Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology. Harvard Business Review Press.

8-Mele, C., & Russo-Spena, T. (2015). Innomediary agency and practices in shaping market innovation. Industrial Marketing Management, Vol.44, p.42-53.

9-Moore, J. F. (1993). Predators and prey: a new ecology of competition. Harvard business review, 71(3), 75-86.

10-Parisot, X., Isckia, T. and Vialle P. (2019). Entering the Black Box of Platform Orchestration: A metaphoric co-evolutionary framework for platform-based ecosystems. R&D management Conference, 17th-21st June 2019, Paris, France. Submitted.

11-Pierce, C.S., [1931-1935]. Collected Papers, Cambridge: Ed. Harvard University Press, Vol. 1-6.

12-Saguy, I. S., & Sirotinskaya, V. (2014). Challenges in exploiting open innovation's full potential in the food industry with a focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Trends in Food Science & Technology, 38(2), 136-148.

13-Sarkar, S. & Costa, A.I. (2008). Dynamics of open innovation in the food industry. Trends in Food Science & Technology, Vol.19, n°11, p.574-580.

14-Teece, D. J. (2017). Dynamic capabilities and (digital) platform lifecycles. In Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Platforms (pp. 211-225). Emerald Publishing Limited.

15-Teece, D.J., Pisano, G. & Shuen, A. (1997). Dynamic capabilities and strategic management. Strategic management journal, p.509-533.

Traitler, H., Watzke, H. J., & Saguy, I. S. (2011). Reinventing R&D in an open innovation ecosystem. Journal of food science, Vol.76, n°2, p.R62-R68.

16-Van de Vrande, V., De Jong, J. P., Vanhaverbeke, W., & De Rochemont, M. (2009). Open innovation in SMEs: Trends, motives and management challenges. Technovation, 29(6), 423-437.

17-Vanhaverbeke, W. et al. (Eds.). (2018). Researching Open Innovation in SMEs. World Scientific.

Servitization maturity - a novel contextual element of successful collaborative R&D innovation projects


University Cote d'Azur


This research is conducted within the specific context of French Pole SCS. These new industrial policies were implemented to settle clear objectives of reinforcement of specific geographic places within France via academic-industrial collaboration for technological purposes within collaborative innovation projects, and with the aim to impact market and society.


The boundaries between services and products are becoming blurred, where products are being assigned the characteristics of services through “servitization”, while services are taking on the characteristics of products via widespread use of mICT (Barret et al., 2008), where the concept of “a servitization solution” outlines the product/services complementarity and interchangeability (Araujo and Spring, 2006).

This raises a concern about the development and management of collaborative mICT servitization innovation projects, so that the four conditions enhancing innovation (Nahapiet and Ghoshal, 1998) become activated.

The successful outcomes and the management of collaborative innovation projects is approached essentially in terms of technology and from the perspective of structural antecedents of innovation (Uzzi, 1996; Anand and Khanna, 2000; Kale, et al., 2002; Hagedoorn, 1993; Ahuja, 2000; Stuart, 2000), while the activation of these mechanisms, becomes possible through a rotating leadership approach throughout the period of the project realisation (Davis and Eisenhardt, 2011).

Literature Gap

The servitization literature raises key conditions related to the complexity and multidimensionality of the collaborative innovation processes within the servitization effort. However, it neither provides a clear understanding of how to perform these requirements, nor how they allow to activate the conditions suggested by Nahapiet and Ghoshal (1998).

Research Questions

“What makes some of the mICT collaborative servitization projects (mCIP's) successful in innovating mICT servitization solution?”

In other words, this research paper targets to show the variety of configurations of mCIP’s and explores the key elements responsible for successful realisation of mICT servitization within open innovation efforts.


Using a comparative multiple case study of 14 mCIP’s, firstly we described all projects in terms of their characteristics and results, and identified four different types within them.

Secondly, based on the abstractive process of open coding (Strauss&Corbin, 1998) adapted by Gioia et al. (2012) we identified key factors that explain the results of the projects in terms of servitization innovation for each type of mCIP’s.

Finally, we compared the results of analysis within each of types to improve our understanding of the role of the key factors of success.

Empirical Material

We selected the most pertinent CIP’s of Pole SCS around mICT servitization. As a starting point, we collected extensive data about CIP’s originating within Pole SCS.

We were able to reunite the information about 419 CIP’s, referenced by Pole SCS over a seven-year time period of innovative activities. From this base we selected mCIP’s with formally declared objective of service development and with the availability of funds. Thus, we obtained 23 servitization mCIP’s from which 14 agreed to participate in our research.

In total, we conducted 43 interviews with the participants of these 14 projects. The interviews represent 46 hours and eight minutes of recordings; some 528 pages. The interviewing process was based on semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions searching for explanations of differences in results.


Our study provides empirical evidence that only a small number of projects resulted in servitization innovation. This emphasises the complexity of creating an innovative service in the mICT sector. Comparing and contrasting more and less well performing servitization projects suggests that higher performance, in terms of novel service development and positive impact on market and society requires more than top-down state policies for service development, or resources in terms of leadership and change management competencies. Rather, it also requires a real maturity of the idea of future services that should be a core of new industrial policies.

Contribution to Scholarship

First, the study enriches the current knowledge on contextual conditions regarding the role of antecedents of innovation (Uzzi, 1996; Anand and Khanna, 2000; Kale et al., 2002) by reaffirming their importance within open servitization innovation dynamics as only one of the critical elements of context. Indeed, all four types of servitization mCIP’s were launched with similar antecedents, but developed different collaborative efficiencies. The study introduces the concept “servitization maturity” as a novel key element of context.

Secondly, our study highlights that simultaneous innovation of technology and novel service development within servitization mCIP’s increases complexity and multidimensionality of service innovation processes. Actually, the idea of the service component of the servitization solution must be mature enough to allow a clear anticipation of value creation which reinforces the initial engagement and the collaboration efficiency of knowledge combination including service knowledge (Storey et al., 2016).

Contribution to Practice

From a practical prospective, the study shows that, in reaction to opportunities and requirements of local innovation policies, numerous projects might emerge with formally declared servitization objectives, and a real engagement in service development. However, such initiation of policies is not sufficient to generate value unless oriented towards servitization maturity. To be efficient, these policies should be focussed on the support of project actors in both accessing and developing specific market knowledge and competencies related to the development of service maturity as well as a shared servitization framework and a market-oriented engagement.


The focus of the R&D Management Conference 2019 on the challenges of open innovation and co-creation on the cross of research, industry and society are the key issues of this research, namely: open mICT and service innovation based on academic-industrial collaboration with aiming to impact both market and society.


Ahuja, G. (2000). Collaboration networks, structural holes, and innovation: a longitudinal study. Administrative Science Quarterly, 45, pp.425–455.

Anand, B. N., and Khanna, T. (2000). Do firms learn to create value? The case of alliances. Strategic Management Journal, 21, pp. 295–315.

Araujo, L. and Spring, M. (2006). Services, products, and the institutional structure of pro- duction. Industrial Marketing Management, 35(7), 797–805.

Barret M., Dvidson E., Middleton C. and DeGross J.I. (2008) – Information technology in the service economy: challenges and possibilities for the 21st century. International Federation for Information Processing, Spindler Series. New York.

Davis, J. P. and Eisenhardt, K. M. (2011). Rotating leadership and collaborative innovation: Recombination processes in symbiotic relationships. Administrative Science Quarterly, 56(2), pp.159-201.

Gioia, D. A., Corley, K. G., Hamilton, A. L. (2012). Seeking Qualitative Rigor in Inductive Research: Notes on the Gioia Methodology, Organizational Research Methods, published on line http://orm., pp.1-17.

Hagedoorn, J., (2003). Sharing intellectual property rights - an exploratory study of joint patenting amongst companies, Industrial and Corporate Change, 12(5), pp. 1035- 1050

Kale, P., Dyer, J. H., Singh, H. (2002). Alliance capability, stock market response, and long-term alliance success: The role of the alliance function. Strategic Management Journal, 23, pp.747–767.

Nahapiet, J., and Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital, intellectual capital, and the organizational advantage. The Academy of Management review 23(2), pp. 242-266.

Strauss, A. and Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Stuart, T. E. (2000). Interorganizational alliances and the performance of firms: A study of growth and innovation rates in a high-technology industry. Strategic Management Journal, 21, pp. 791–811.

Uzzi, B. (1996). The sources and consequences of embeddedness for the economic perfor- mance of organizations: The network effect. American Sociological Review, 61, pp. 674–698.

2:45pm - 4:15pm21-PM2-02: ST8.4 - Open Innovation in SMEs
Session Chair: Marie-Anne Le Dain, Grenoble INP Industrial Engineering and Management – G-SCOP Lab
Session Chair: Carène Tchuinou Tchouwo, Université Laval
Amphi Sauvy 

What do we know specifically about open innovation in SMEs? A descriptive review

Carène Tchuinou Tchouwo, Diane Poulin

Université Laval, Canada


In recent years, Open Innovation (OI) has become a popular concept in the innovation literature. This concept works in two directions: on the one hand, a company opens itself up to knowledge from outside actors; on the other hand, it deliberately makes commercially useful internal knowledge available to the market.


Previous studies have focused on OI in large R&D-intensive enterprises where external technological knowledge is used to strengthen internal research (outside-in) and internal knowledge is outsourced to generate additional funds (Chesbrough, 2003). In these studies, OI takes various forms depending on the direction of knowledge flows (Chesbrough, 2006) and is primarily technology-driven.

More recently, researchers have been looking at OI in SMEs and have begun to explore its characteristics and determinants in that context (Van de Vrande et al., 2009). Indeed, some studies have shown possible advantages for SMEs, in particular an improved capability to cope with the limitations of being a small company and lacking resources and skills. However, other studies have shown possible disadvantages. SMEs are highly sensitive not only to the costs of OI but also to its risks, and such risks may hinder their development. Thus, SMEs are an interesting context for study of OI.

Literature Gap

Despite recent interest in OI within SMEs, research remains limited and studies are scattered or sometimes contradictory.As a result, there have lately been calls for further research and for a conceptual framework to consolidate and bring together all relevant OI studies on SMEs.This research is an answer to these calls.

Research Questions

We reviewed recent studies on OI in SMEs to explore its specific characteristics and determinants that enable SMEs to innovate openly. Our research questions were: What are the characteristics and the main determinants of OI in SMEs?How do these different elements relate to each other within an integrated conceptual framework?


These questions led us to undertake a systematic review of the literature. We drew on the method of Tranfield et al. (2003) to develop a multi-stage approach: 1) formulate one or more explicit research questions, 2) establish inclusion and exclusion criteria, 3) search for relevant studies, 4) select studies according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 5) evaluate the selected studies, 6) summarize and bring together the results, and 7) interpret the results. Our research questions are listed above, and our selection criteria are outlined below.

Empirical Material

To be included in our literature review, the document must: 1) be a scientific paper published in a peer-reviewed journal; 2) have been published between January 2003 and December 2018; 3) be written in French or English; 4) focus on open innovation and, in particular, on the characteristics and / or determinants of open innovation; 5) provide a study of these elements in the context of SMEs; and 6) involve empirical work or be conceptual studies. We excluded dissertations, theses, books, editorials, book reviews, single case studies, and success stories.

The databases selected for the literature review were ProQuest ABI / Inform, EBSCO, and Web of Science. We searched each database both in French and in English, using the following pre-established algorithm: (“open innovation” OR “networked innovation” OR “distributed innovation” OR “collaborative innovation” OR “co-creation” OR “crowdsourcing” OR “openness” OR “inside-out” OR “outside-in” OR “inbound” OR “outbound” OR “coupled activities”) AND (“SME” OR “SMEs” OR “small and medium”). A total of 895 papers were identified from all four databases. After a triple sorting, 123 papers were kept.


Based on papers we reviewed, we found that, SMEs have actively adopted inbound (or outside-in) practices, most frequently procurement of external knowledge (joint R&D, customer involvement). Technological tools are present and cited in most papers. Actors are internal (the manager or CEO and employees) or external (customers, consultants / intermediaries, research institutes, large companies, or start-ups).

We grouped OI determinants into five main categories: individual determinants (individual skills), organizational determinants (size, absorptive capacity, internal R&D department), value network determinants (trust, partner complementarity, proximity), industry-related determinants, and institutional determinants (government funding and other support programs). Among these categories, an SME is most affected by factors relating to its leaders and its dominant coalition, whose behaviors and individual characteristics determine its propensity to opt for OI or not. In addition, the elements of the context and particularly the existence of government support and funding can strongly incentivize adoption of more OI.

Finally, we argue that the four main elements under study (practices, tools, actors, and determinants) can be interlinked within a proposed integrative conceptual framework. When companies implement OI, they are motivated to choose a specific set of practices, tools, and actors by individual, organizational, network, or institutional factors.

Contribution to Scholarship

In academia, the research results will improve understanding of OI in SMEs and help identify its characteristics and determinants in that specific context. To our knowledge, no systematic review of the literature has brought these different elements together; we plan to fill this theoretical gap. In addition, our proposed conceptual framework will illustrate the complex relationships between OI characteristics and OI determinants. It will also provide a complete map and directions for future research, thus encouraging researchers to go further and test the generalizability of previous research results in different contexts.

Contribution to Practice

In practice, our findings will help SME managers and decision-makers make evidence-based recommendations on OI in their organization. Indeed, to the extent that they better understand why and how SMEs adopt OI, we may see more SME-oriented innovation strategies.


Today, the benefits of opening up the innovation process are widely recognized and have been tested in different companies and contexts. This research will raise awareness of OI characteristics and determinants, thus encouraging and spurring SMEs in different industries to apply it and reap the benefits of improved performance.


- Brunswicker, S., & Van de Vrande, V. (2014). Exploring open innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises. New frontiers in open innovation, 1, 135-156.

- Brunswicker, S., & Vanhaverbeke, W. (2015). Open innovation in small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs): External knowledge sourcing strategies and internal organizational facilitators. Journal of Small Business Management, 53(4), 1241-1263.

- Chesbrough, HW. (2003). Open innovation: The new imperative for creating and profiting from technology. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

- Chesbrough, H., Vanhaverbeke, W., & West, J. (Eds.). (2006). Open innovation: Researching a new paradigm. Oxford University Press on Demand.

- Parida, V., Westerberg, M., & Frishammar, J. (2012). Inbound open innovation activities in high‐tech SMEs: the impact on innovation performance. Journal of small business management, 50(2), 283-309.

- Spithoven, A., Vanhaverbeke, W., & Roijakkers, N. (2013). Open innovation practices in SMEs and large enterprises. Small Business Economics, 41(3), 537-562.

- Tranfield, D., Denyer, D., & Smart, P. (2003). Towards a methodology for developing evidence‐informed management knowledge by means of systematic review. British journal of management, 14(3), 207-222.

- Van de Vrande, V., De Jong, J. P., Vanhaverbeke, W., & De Rochemont, M. (2009). Open innovation in SMEs: Trends, motives and management challenges. Technovation, 29(6-7), 423-437.

Dancing with Wolves: How R&D Human Capital Can Benefit from Coopetition

Vesna Savic1, Carmen Cabello-Medina1, Shanthi Gopalakrishnan2, Haisu Zhang2, Melodi Guilbault2

1University Pablo de Olavide, Spain; 2New Jersey Institute of Technology


This study examines the impact of competitor alliances on the development of internal R&D human capital, on a sample of biotech Spanish firms located in the five major biotechnology clusters, and US biotech firms located in the New Jersey Region.


Alliances with competitors, labeled as coopetition by Brandenburger and Nalebuff (1996).is increasingly discussed as an effective strategy for innovation (Bouncken, Fredrich, Ritala, & Kraus, 2018), given the opportunities for using joint market and technological knowledge provided by these types of agreements (Ritala & Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, 2009).

Coopetition is highly relevant for small and medium firms in knowledge intensive industries, who can share R&D costs and economies of scale, use synergistic effects by pooling resources, search for complementary resources and distribute risks, among other advantages (Bouncken & Kraus, 2013; Gnyawali & Park, 2009).

Literature on coopetition and innovation states that cooperation with competitors involves unique characteristics that are lacking in other types of alliances, and that these characteristics might produce different, either better or worse results for the concerned parties (Ritala & Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, 2009).

Literature Gap

Research has not shown conclusive findings about the effects of coopetition on performance, e.g. some studies demonstrate that coopetition facilitates the creation of new products while other studies show that cooperation with competitors is the least likely to produce highly novel innovations.

Research Questions

We propose two research questions:

1) How does coopetition influence human capital in biotech firms through the mediating role of alliance pro-activeness?

2) Are these relationships moderated by inter-organizational coordination capabilities and alliance satisfaction?


Quantitative Analysis:

Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of all multi-item constructs.

For testing the hypotheses we used 3 models. The mediation effect was first tested in two separated models. With Model 3 we tested the moderating effects. Moreover, the bootstrapping analysis was performed to look for indirect effects.

Empirical Material

A survey technique was adopted in this study. In Spain the questionnaire was completed during the interview with the CEO or person responsible for R&D, while we designed an online questionnaire and collected data from biotechnology firms in the United States (US).

The survey was distributed to 285 Spanish firms located in five major biotechnology clusters: Andalusia, The Basque Country, Catalonia, Valencia, and Madrid. Ninety-three responses were returned, generating a response rate of 32.63%. In the US, the survey was sent to member firms of BioNJ (, an organization of networking biotechnology firms in the state of New Jersey. Among 115 firms that received this survey, 30 firms responded, resulting in a response rate of 26.09%. We further removed 12 cases with substantial missing data. The remaining 111 cases were used for data analysis, resulting in a usable rate of 90.24% based on returned responses and 27.75% based on the entire sampling frame.


Our results demonstrate that:

Alliances with competitors (coopetition) increase a firm’s internal R&D human capital and this relationship is mediated by the firm’s pro-activeness in the forming of R&D alliances. We found that competitor alliance is positively related to the firm’s pro-activeness in forming R&D alliances and pro-activeness in forming R&D alliance is positively related to the development of internal R&D human capital.

The study also supports our hipothesis that alliance satisfaction negatively moderates the relationship between coopetition and pro-activeness of R&D alliances.

We could not demonstrate that coordination positively moderate the relationship between coopetition and the firm’s pro-activeness in forming R&D alliances.

Contribution to Scholarship

Our study tries to add to the theory of alliances by further explaining how competitor alliances drive firm behavior in terms of further collaboration and the development of internal resources. Specifically, our main contributions are related to:

1) Studies concerned about the outcomes of coopetition have been mainly focused on its impact on innovation performance, although it is clear that other benefits may steam from coopetition. Our work tries to provide insights about different benefits of coopetition (Alliance proactiveness and R&D Human Capital) that can be itself particularly relevant.

2) Success of coopetition has proved to be contingent on a number of contextual factors. Nevertheless, more knowledge is needed about what circumstances make coopetition really advantageous. In our research, the role of alliance satisfaction and alliance coordination are examined as contextual factors that can determine the effectiveness of coopetition.

Contribution to Practice

From this study, managers of biotech companies can learn the benefits of alliances with competitors. Even if these alliances do not provide direct benefits regarding innovation performance, it is clear its impact on human capital of the firms, which represents a key resource of biotech companies.

For managers it is also useful to understand the role of some contextual factors that can make the alliances with competitors more effective.


Open Innovation encompasses different practices and interactions with different types of organizations. Cooperation with competitors (coopetition) is a specific case of Open Innovation, particularly relevant in SMEs (they can share R&D costs, economies of scale, synergistic effects, complementary resources and risks, among other advantages)


Bouncken, R. B., Fredrich, V., Ritala, P., & Kraus, S. (2018). Coopetition in New Product Development Alliances: Advantages and Tensions for Incremental and Radical Innovation. British Journal of Management, 29(3), 391–410.

Bouncken, R. B., & Kraus, S. (2013). Innovation in knowledge-intensive industries: The double-edged sword of coopetition. Journal of Business Research, 66(10), 2060-2070.

Brandenburger, A. & Nalebuff, B. (1996). Co-opetition. Doubleday Publishing, New York.

Gnyawali, D. R., & Park, B. J. (2009). Co-opetition, and technological innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises: A multilevel conceptual model. Journal of Small Business Management, 47(3), 308–330.

Ritala, P., & Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, P. (2009). What’s in it for me? Creating and appropriating value in innovation-related coopetition. Technovation, 29, 819–828.

Effectiveness of Open Innovation: Evidence from an Information and Communications Engineering Company in Japan

Kumiko Miyazaki, Yoshitaka Nakamura

Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan


The importance of a paradigm shift from the closed to the open type innovation has been pointed out by Chesbrough.Up until the 1990s major Japanese companies adopted a closed innovation strategy but changes have been taking place since their capacity to innovate has reached a limit


Cheng, C.C.J., and Huizingh, E.K.R.E. (2014). When is open innovation beneficial? The role of strategic orientation, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31(6), pp.1235-1253.

Chesbrough, H. (2003). Open innovation: The new imperative for creating and profiting from technology, Boston, Harvard Business School Press.

Laursen K and Salter,A(2006) Open for Innovation: The Role of Openness in explaining innovation performance among U.K.. manufacturing firms, Strategic Management Journal, 27, pp. 131-150

Osawa T and Miyazaki, K. (2006) An empirical analysis of the valley of death: Large-scale R&D project performance in a Japanese diversified company, Asian Journal of Technology Innovation, 14,2,pp93-116

Literature Gap

Recent work on open innovation has been based mainly on analyzing the effectiveness of open innovation in Western companies. It is also understood that obstacles exist towards value creation and structural trade off and negative effects on R&D performance have been suggested regarding Japanese firms. Such empirical study is missing.

Research Questions

How does the usage of open innovation affect the R&D outcome? How does the strategic orientation affect the usage of open innovation and R&D outcome? How does the external linkage orientation affect the usage of open innovation and R&D outcome? How do the findings vary among the different business units?


We built a survey model by adapting the framework by Cheng and Huizingh and set up 4 hypotheses. Design, implementation and analysis of the questionnaire survey to verify the hypothesis were carried out.The questionnaire targeted 151 managers who belong to the business planning, marketing strategy and the business units. The model consists of activities of open innovation as independent variables, R&D outcome as dependent variables, strategic orientation and external collaboration orientation as moderating factors, the severity of market and technology change, and the competitive environment as a control variable.. In parallel, we conducted interviews with some project managers.

Empirical Material

In order to verify the hypothesis described above, we prepared a questionnaire according to the survey model and conducted quantitative analysis by questionnaire to managers of Company AT (151 people) from business planning, sales strategy, and R&D departments. We also conducted a case study of external collaborative R&D project for qualitative study. In addition, we conducted an interview with the project manager in Company AT who was involved in the collaborative R&D project with the university.We defined open innovation as to incorporate technology and knowledge from outside the company (including companies in the X group and research laboratories) into the company, to develop technologies and products in conjunction with their own technology and knowledge, to realize innovation (consider “request of R&D to other parties” as one form of open innovation).

Regarding the validity of the question items, the manager and three colleagues of the business planning division to which the author belongs reviewed them. 58 responses were obtained (out of 151).

Response is based on the Likert scale of 5 grades


The findings show that regarding Hypothesis 1 "The usage of open innovation has a positive effect on the R&D outcome," the results of multiple regression analysis conducted show that among the R&D results, new product innovativeness, new product success and customer satisfaction were not supported and only the financial performance was supported. Among R&D outcomes, the interactive effects of strategic orientation on product innovativeness have a positive synergistic effect, but with regard to product success, customer satisfaction and financial performance, negative synergistic effect was observed. As for Hypothesis 3, "A strong linkage orientation with research institutes external to the corporate group has a positive effect on the usage of open innovation regarding R&D outcome", new product innovativeness, new product success, and customer satisfaction were not supported. However, when looking across divisions, there were differences in some of the results. It was confirmed that the company recognizes that open innovation is effective for R&D results in order to respond to new market trends and customer needs and to respond further to changes in market and technological environments. The case study revealed that open innovation will not emerge unless the market is ready even if innovative R&D outcome is obtained.

Contribution to Scholarship

This paper was able to clarify the characteristics of the effectiveness of open innovation in an actual company in the information and communication industry in Japan. For Hypotheses 1, "The usage of open innovation has a positive effect on the R&D outcome," the results show that of the effects of usage of open innovation on the R&D results, new product innovativeness, new product success and customer satisfaction were not supported, revealing a trend which is contrary to previous literature. In the result of Cheng & Huizingh (2014), open innovation activity and strategic trend, which includes entrepreneurial orientation, market orientation, and resource orientation, have a positive interaction effect on the all results of R&D. However, in this research, open innovation activity and strategic trend has a positive interaction effect only on the new product innovativeness of R&D result.

Contribution to Practice

The challenge related to open innovation for the company in the future is to search for technologies by cooperating partners outside the corporate group. A major issue is the utilization of open innovation towards "creating value." Regarding this issue, sufficient knowledge has not been accumulated in Company AT, which has been focusing on "manufacturing" so far as the major business, absorption of knowledge from the outside is absolutely necessary. In particular, as ICT, big data analysis technology progress, the enterprise needs new value creation under the new situation of dealing with economic and societal issues.


This study presents the evidence of the effectiveness of open innovation on R&D outcome in a Japanese Information and Engineering Company using internal corporate data. It has been possible to carry out this research since one of the authors is a full time employee at this company.


Cabinet Office of Japan (2012). Trends of the World Economy 2012 I, Figure 2-3-22.

Cheng, C.C.J., and Huizingh, E.K.R.E. (2014). When is open innovation beneficial? The role of strategic orientation, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31(6), pp.1235-1253.

Chesbrough, H. (2003). Open innovation: The new imperative for creating and profiting from technology, Boston, Harvard Business School Press.

Chiang, Y.H., and Hung, K.P. (2010). Exploring open search strategies and perceived innovation performance from the perspective of inter-organizational knowledge flows, R&D Management, 40 (3), pp.292-299.

Nobeoka, K. (2010). Disadvantages of Open Innovation: Problems in capturing value, The Journal of Science Policy and Research Management, 25(1), pp.68-77.

The Timing and Type of Alliance Partnerships in the New Product Development Process

Hadi Eslami1, Ashish Pujari2, Ruhai Wu2

1University of New Brunswick, Canada; 2McMaster University


Small firms, operating in technologically-intensive sectors, are normally underfunded and lack required resources to conduct a full cycle of the new product development (NPD) on their own. Thus, they rely on open innovation strategy. However, it is critical for them to effectively manage their partnerships to reach their innovation objectives.


Previous research [5] indicates that firms are in a double bind between the increasing pressure to develop more innovative products and the escalating risks and costs associated with the NPD process. As a strategic remedy to this issue, R&D alliances with other organizations are vital for gaining access to share NPD costs and gain access to necessary knowledge and capabilities [4] for innovation. The importance of R&D alliances is even more important for survival and growth of high-technology (hi-tech) small firms [6] due to their lack of resources and experience in the effective selection of partners. However, in some circumstances, small firms may suffer from open innovation strategies due to transaction costs [2] involved in interorganizational relationships (e.g., product specificity and performance uncertainty). Therefore, despite the value-creation benefits of open innovation strategy for small firms [1], they may enter into collaborative R&D alliances with other organizations under unfavorable conditions [3].

Literature Gap

Innovation performance of open innovation (collaborative R&D alliances) has been mainly considered at the firm level of analysis. However, there is little research in the literature which focuses on the product innovativeness implications of R&D alliances hi-tech small firms form at different stages of the NPD process with different partners.

Research Questions

How can small firms use open innovation strategy to enhance the likelihood of their product innovativeness? More specifically, how the interaction of the alliance type and the alliance timing of R&D alliance formed during the NPD process to develop a new product affect the innovativeness of the new product?


We integrate insights from both benefit and cost perspectives of alliances to develop and empirically test hypotheses regarding the effective management of alliance strategies to enhance the likelihood of product innovativeness. To this end, we introduce a new typology and demonstrate its application to product innovativeness. The typology categorizes alliance partnerships along two dimensions of partnership timing (the stage of the NPD process during which alliance is formed) and partnership type (role of alliance partner during the NPD process). We use this typology to determine the interaction effects of partnership timing and type on the probability of product innovativeness (radicalness).

Empirical Material

We chose Biopharmaceutical (biopharma) sector as our empirical setting, and our sample of small firms consists of dedicated biotechnology (biotech). Our unit of analysis is product (our outcome variable is innovativeness of ready-to-launch new products). We followed a multistage approach in collecting data from different data sources (Recombinant Capital; LexisNexis news items, Compustat financial data, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) databases) to test theoretical hypotheses in the following systematic steps: 1) Create a list of 454 approved drugs from Food and Drug Administration (FDA); 2) Conduct keyword search on each drug in the FDA data source and collect related data (e.g. developer, radicalness, the technology used, disease indication, and approval date); 3) Search LexisNexis for news items published on the shortlisted drugs on related alliances at different stages of the drug development; and 4) Search Compustat database to collect focal firm-level variables of interests (e.g., SIC code, firm size, R&D expenditure). The final sample size was 230 drugs linked to 384 alliances developed by 85 biotech firms. We use a unique sample of 230 drugs developed by 85 relatively small biotechnology firms in collaborative alliances with 384 alliances in 1982-2016 to test the developed hypothesis in this thesis.


Our main objective to check how the innovativeness of a new product is a function of its focal developer’s (biotech firms in this study) formation of R&D alliances during the NPD process. Our findings show that biotech firms’ alliances with universities during discovery and development of the NPD increases the likelihood of the innovativeness of the newly approved drug by FDA. However, such partnership during pre-launch stage will negatively affect the drug innovativeness. Moreover, biotech alliances with pharma firms will have negative effects during discovery and development stages of the NPD process and no effect during pre-launch stage. Lastly, biotech alliances with other biotech firms increases the likelihood of the drug innovativeness if such partnership is formed during the discovery stage. Such partnership will adversely affect the innovativeness of drugs if initiated during development and pre-launch stages. We have controlled for factors (other than alliances) which might affect the innovativeness of the drug upon FDA approval. We have controlled for the effects of R&D expenditure, therapeutic area, focal firm size, and prior alliance experience on the drug innovativeness.

Contribution to Scholarship

Alliance timing and type provide conditions under which the focal biotech firm can receive different benefits from entering into alliance partnerships. The proposed typology for alliance relationships in this study provides an opportunity to integrate insights from Transaction Cost Economics (TCE) with its cost-oriented view, and Resource-based view (RBV) of the firm and absorptive capacity with their benefit-oriented theoretical perspective. Prior studies with a focus on a cumulative view of alliances mainly used one or the other of these views. This study contributes to TCE theory by studying the dynamic conditions under which transaction costs vary. The idea is that transaction cost varies during the NPD process and between different partnership types. Similarly, this study extends the theoretical implications of RBV and absorptive capacity by providing empirical evidence that benefits obtained through alliances offer differential performance outcomes, conditional on both timing and type of alliance that the focal firm initiates.

Contribution to Practice

The need to access novel basic research and scientific knowledge and complementary resources of other firms, may cause some biotech firms to join alliances under unfavourable conditions, making these alliances prone to failure. Thus, small and underfunded firms sometimes overestimate the benefits and underestimate the risks of joining alliances. By applying the typology of alliance timing and type, small firms can better understand the risks and rewards of their strategic choices of alliances, as both the timing and type of alliances formed at different stages of the NPD process moderates the effects of alliances on innovativeness of its new product.


In general, this research examines the effects of the R&D alliance timing and type on innovativeness of new products. In particular, a new product may be co-developed by multiple R&D alliances during the NPD process, proving immense implications for small high-tech firms to apply open innovation for their innovation management.


[1] Dyer, J. H., & Singh, H. (1998). The relational view: Cooperative strategy and sources of interorganizational competitive advantage. Academy of Management Review, 23(4), 660-679.

[2] Heide, J. B. (1994). Interorganizational governance in marketing channels. The Journal of Marketing, 58(1), 71-85.

[3] Haeussler, C., Patzelt, H., & Zahra, S. A. (2012). Strategic alliances and product development in high technology new firms: The moderating effect of technological capabilities. Journal of Business Venturing, 27(2), 217-233.

[4] Rindfleisch, A., & Moorman, C. (2001). The acquisition and utilization of information in new product alliances: A strength-of-ties perspective. Journal of Marketing, 65(2), 1-18.

[5] Sivadas, E., & Dwyer, F. R. (2000). An examination of organizational factors influencing new product success in internal and alliance-based processes. Journal of Marketing, 64(1), 31-49.

[6] Yang, H., Zheng, Y., & Zhao, X. (2014). Exploration or exploitation? Small firms' alliance strategies with large firms. Strategic Management Journal, 35(1), 146-157.

4:45pm - 6:15pm21-PM3-02: ST8.4 - Open Innovation in SMEs
Session Chair: Romaric Servajean-Hilst, Ecole polytechnique
Amphi Sauvy 

Contributions of Research and Technology Organizations (RTOs) for the adoption of Open Innovation Strategies (OIEs) in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs).

Silvio Bitencourt da Silva1, Alexandre Zigunovas Junior2, Daniel Pedro Puffal3, Luciana Maines da Silva4



We identify the growth of innovation-driven institutions in different countries, such as RTOs in which innovations are generated, technologies developed and research carried out in Research and development (R&D) efforts in SMEs in order to stay efficient in the global market and contribute with national development.


Existing research shows that SMEs organize and manage Open Innovation (OI) differently from large enterprises. Different sources of open innovation such as RTOs, or consultants, commercial labs or universities, as well as fairs and exhibitions have not been thoroughly examined by researchers in the field of OI in SMEs (Stanko et al., 2017; Vanhaverbeke, 2017, Vanhaverbeke et al., 2018). IO in SMEs are adopted based on SMEs strategic needs and require that IO mechanisms be designed in a specific way (Vanhaverbeke, 2017, Vanhaverbeke et al., 2018). Thus, discussing the RTOs' contributions to OI in SMEs constitutes a relevant theoretical field of study (Hossain & Kauranen, 2016; Vanhaverbeke, 2017; Vanhaverbeke et al., 2018). In addition, the RTOs have been receiving attention in some international studies relating to the field of OI studies contributing to pushing the frontier of academic research on OI in SMEs foward (Barlatier et al., 2017; Giannopoulou, 2019).

Literature Gap

The RTOs tend to be overlooked in the academic literature (Barge-Gil et al., 2011, Readman et al., 2015, Intarakumnerd and Goto, 2018, Comin et al., 2018, Giannopoulou, 2019). The contribution of RTOs for the adoption of OIEs in SMEs raises several theoretical challenges (Albors-Garrigós et al., 2014; Garengo, 2018).

Research Questions

Determined for practical and intellectual reasons in the OI field, having the object of discussion the contributions of RTOs for the adoption of OIEs in SMEs, in this work we intend to answer the following research question: what are the contributions of RTOs to the adoption of OIEs in SMEs?


This study was based on a qualitative approach, characterized as a case study in Brazil's SMEs, located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, which was highlighted in the first edition of Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (SEBRAE ) Innovation Fund Call, having the largest number of projects approved at national level (27.5%). Different sources were used, including direct and indirect documentation provided by the RTOs, SMEs and SEBRAE. The analysis and discussion of the findings was carried out through categories of analysis from the theoretical basis of the resource-based view of the firm (RBV).

Empirical Material

We collected the data in Google Forms between november 2018 and february 2019, and the responses were recorded in an organized and automatic way. Information and graphs were consolidated in real time. In addition, the innovation projets submitted to the SEBRAE Innovation Fund Call and legal or complementary documents were accessed, as well as the Call itself and the reports presented by the SMEs after the development of the proposed innovations. Responses were obtained from 27 SMEs totaling 64.28% of the total of 52 SMEs selected from the 189 approved nationally in more than 650 projects that responded to the first edition of the Call for Proposals in July 2016. The State of Rio Grande do Sul totaled 27.5% of projects, followed by Minas Gerais (16.40%), Santa Catarina (11.64%), Paraná (9.52%) and Rio de Janeiro (8.46%) (InovAtiva Brasil, 2016). We also used data from the "Study and Mapping of the Innovation Ecosystem for SMEs in Rio Grande do Sul," developed by the SEBRAE to diagnose the main agents related to the movement of innovative entrepreneurship in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. obtained from 48 RTOs, totaling 88.89% of a total of 54 RTOs mapped in this State.


The findings suggest that the role of RTOs in the adoption of OIEs in SMEs can be expressed through three main activities that were highlighted throughout the development phases of projects approved under the SEBRAE Innovation Fund Call. The first one is aimed at strengthening relations between RTOs and SMEs in their own agenda of interaction around the creation of innovations. It involves shaping specific OI mechanisms for SMEs and building connections between other actors in a network of innovation especially large enterprises or through their insertion into innovation ecosystems. The second is that RTOs can intermediate aspects of OI creating convenience for SMEs that usually have limited skills and resources for innovation. These conveniences involve the establishment of channels of communication, specific support and access to knowledge, as well as the availability or intermediation of funds for the creation of innovations by SMEs. The third is to facilitate the initial stages of innovation creation, development and formalization through the multi-method approaches according to the specific needs of SMEs, such as: benchmarking, business plans, competitive analysis, focus groups, identifying and engaging stakeholders, market research and surveys, project management, safeguarding intellectual properties, systems, and business modeling.

Contribution to Scholarship

The main theoretical implication of this study involves the generation of new insights about the RTOs' contributions to the adoption of OI strategies in SMEs, taking as reference the elements of the theoretical basis resource-based view of the firm (RBV) in relation to the the expansion of understanding that resources are only internal and that distinguishes shared resources from non-shared resources. The sharing of resources of RTOs with SMEs and of these with RTOs can generate competitive advantages for SMEs and also for RTOs. The findings suggest the adoption by SMEs and RTOs of coupled open innovation strategies that involves bidirectional and interactive flows. We explain the creation of innovations by the adoption of interactive open innovation that leads to the creation of value through the key process of creative collaboration that happens between SMEs and RTOs interested in the creation of innovations through cocreation of value.

Contribution to Practice

The main managerial implication involves the adoption of the open innovation strategy to enhance the managerial practices of the RTOs in the face of the challenges of organizing and managing OI in SMEs. SMEs as the creators / developers of innovations. RTOs aiding internal R & D efforts in SMEs.

Combining the efforts of SMEs and RTOs through value creation there is the potential to establish a management model that leads to the adoption of OIEs in SMEs including the possibility of combining RTOs and SMEs in different formats with the participation of other significant actors in innovation networks.


The relevance of this research to the key topics of the conference in general and to the theme of this particular edition is in the discussion about aiding internal R & D efforts bridging research with RTOs, SMEs and other actors in innovation networks that enable SMEs to innovate openly.


Albors-Garrigós, J., Rincon-Diaz, C. A., & Igartua-Lopez, J. I. (2014). Research technology organisations as leaders of R&D collaboration with SMEs: role, barriers and facilitators. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 26(1), 37-53.

Barge-Gil, A., Santamaría, L., & Modrego, A. (2011). Complementarities between universities and technology institutes: New empirical lessons and perspectives. European Planning Studies, 19(2), 195-215.

Barlatier, P. J., Giannopoulou, E., & Pénin, J. (2017). Exploring the Role of Open Innovation Intermediaries: The Case of Public Research Valorization. In Global Intermediation and Logistics Service Providers (pp. 87-103). IGI Global.

Comin, D., Licht, G., Pellens, M., & Schubert, T. (2018). Do companies benefit from public research organizations? The impact of the Fraunhofer Society in Germany. Papers in Innovation Studies, (2018/7).

Garengo, P. (2018). How bridging organisations manage technology transfer in SMEs: an empirical investigation. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 1-15.

Giannopoulou, E., Barlatier, P. J., & Pénin, J. (2019). Same but different? Research and technology organizations, universities and the innovation activities of firms. Research Policy, 48(1), 223-233.

Hossain, M. and Kauranen, I. (2016). Open innovation in SMEs: a systematic literature review. Journal of Strategy and Management 9(1), pp. 58–73.

InovAtiva Brasil (2016). Retrieved from: [Accessed 22 february 2019]

Intarakumnerd, P., & Goto, A. (2018). Role of public research institutes in national innovation systems in industrialized countries: The cases of Fraunhofer, NIST, CSIRO, AIST, and ITRI. Research Policy, 47(7), 1309-1320.

Readman, J., Bessant, J., Neely, A., & Twigg, D. (2018). Positioning UK research and technology organizations as outward‐facing technology‐bases. R&D Management, 48(1), 109-120.

Stanko, M. A., Fisher, G. J., & Bogers, M. (2017). Under the wide umbrella of open innovation. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 34(4), 543-558.

Vanhaverbeke, W. (2017). Managing Open Innovation in SMEs. Cambridge University Press.

Vanhaverbeke, W., Frattini, F., Roijakkers, N., & Usman, M. (2018). Researching Open Innovation in SMEs. World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.

Unlocking the Black-Box of Open Innovation Capabilities in SMEs

Ilma Pranciulyte-Bagdziuniene1, Iryna Maliatsina2, Monika Petraite1, Daria Podmetina2

1Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania; 2Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland


SMEs have distinct capability and resource profile due its size and organizational structure limitations. The OI capabilities enabling SMEs to improve performance from opening up their borders and implications for sustaining such capabilities are addressed by this research.


The dynamic development of knowledge capacities has been recognised as essential for achieving profitability from OI practices adoption (Chesbrough, 2006). The critical competencies enabling implementation of OI practices have been first explored by Lichtenthaler and Lichtenthaler (2009) who devised a comprehensive process‐based framework that complements the absorptive capacity concept (Cohen and Levinthal, 1990) and describes capabilities required to explore, exploit and retain internal and external knowledge. Following the research trend, capabilities perspective on OI has been addressed by many research streams (e.g. Hosseini et al., 2016; Hafkesbrink & Schroll, 2014). Cheng and Chen (2013) studied the roles of dynamic innovation capabilities and OI activities in the context of the NPD. The set of recommendation for OI competence development in industry has been proposed and tested by Podmetina et al., 2017. The role of networking for facilitation of OI implementation among SMEs has been studied thoughtfully by Lee et al. (2010).

Literature Gap

Studies on OI capabilities are focused mainly on organizational rather than individual level analysis (i.e. Lichtenthaler, 2008, 2011; Bogers et al., 2018). This paper addresses the gap and provides the scholars with strong empirical evidence while testing mediating effects of organizational capabilities for individual OI competencies.

Research Questions

In the response to subsequent call for empirical evaluation of how OI capabilities affect firm’s performance, in this paper we attempt to analyze how individual OI competences in SMEs impact their performance advancement and how organizational capabilities for OI enable individual OI competencies for SMEs innovation performance advancement.


The research instrument has shown moderate internal consistency reliability. Following the methodology process, we conducted factor analysis for variables formation and verification and continued with partial least squares structural equation model (PLS-SEM) analysis for 12 hypotheses testing. PLS path modelling is recommended to be used for an early theory development studies for examining of the high complex models with large number of variables (Hair et al., 2011), which is the case. The model tests the relationship between dependent variable – competencies for OI on individual level, and independent variable – innovation performance advancement as mediated by organizational capabilities for OI.

Empirical Material

The data used for this research has been collected using a questionnaire developed by an international team of researchers and included 84 indicators. In total, 266 responses were collected from innovative Lithuanian SMEs. Companies from more than 15 industries participated in online survey with “Wholesale and retail trade” representing the largest group (12.8 percent). Final sample consists of micro enterprises with less than ten employees (50.8 percent) and small enterprises with 10-49 workers (49.2 percent).


Critical findings of the empirical study demonstrate that capabilities for OI on organizational level play the role of mediator between competences for OI on individual level and innovation performance advancement. In this regard, developed capabilities for OI on organizational level (such as organizational culture openness, learning and trust, etc.) is a strong tool to enhance the effectiveness of OI competencies of individuals (such as creativity, adaptability and flexibility, strategic thinking, etc.). Therefore, it can be a valuable source of information for companies to develop competencies for OI at the firm level to better utilize the OI competencies of their human recourses. Our analysis answers the question of the research and indicates that SMEs in order to improve new product market acceptance, success of collaboration with external partners, etc. should develop competences and capabilities for OI at all levels. In addition, to enhance specifically individual level competencies firm should first of all open its organizational culture by recognizing and utilizing the value of external knowledge acquisition and sharing. Entire statistically tested findings partially destroy assumptions that SMEs could be successful by investing in individual level OI capabilities only. Organizational capabilities are critically important for OI implementation as well.

Contribution to Scholarship

This paper explores individual competencies and organizational capabilities for OI and how SMEs can explore, transform, and exploit acquired knowledge and technologies for innovation. Unlike the earlier studies on OI capabilities focused mainly on organizational level of analysis, this paper explores the relationship between individual competencies and OI performance advancement in the company. This paper not only presents a rigorous theoretical analysis on OI, but also provides the scholars with strong empirical evidence.

Contribution to Practice

The results of the empirical study provide practitioners with overview of the capabilities and individual OI competences in SMEs. Armed with that knowledge, practitioners in SMEs can define the scope of their OI initiatives that will advance innovation performance of their organization. The results can be used as foundation for prioritizing, selecting, and operationalizing capabilities and individual competences areas for OI.


This year’s special track on OI in SMEs is thoughtfully addressed in this study. Within our research the focus is given to OI organizational capabilities development. As a call contribution we attempted to clarify the OI concept in the context of SMEs by presenting the relevant empirical evidence and analysis.


Bogers, M., Chesbrough, H., & Moedas, C. (2018). Open innovation: research, practices, and policies. California Management Review, 60(2), 5-16.

Chesbrough, H. (2006). Open business models: How to thrive in the new innovation landscape. Harvard Business Press.

Cohen, W. M., & Levinthal, D. A. (1990). Absorptive capacity: A new perspective on learning and innovation. Administrative science quarterly, 35(1), 128-152.

Cheng C. & Chen J‐S, (2013). Breakthrough innovation: the roles of dynamic innovation capabilities and open innovation activities. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 28 Issue: 5, pp.444-454

Lichtenthaler, U., & Lichtenthaler, E. (2009). A capability‐based framework for open innovation: Complementing absorptive capacity. Journal of management studies, 46(8), 1315-1338.

Hair J., Christian R., Marko S. (2011). PLS-sem: Indeed a silver bullet. The Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice. 19. 139-151.

Hafkesbrink, J., & Schroll, M. (2014). Ambidextrous organizational and individual competencies in open innovation: the dawn of a new research agenda. Journal of innovation Management, 2(1), 9-46.

Hosseini, S., Kees, A., Manderscheid, J., Röglinger, M., & Rosemann, M. (2017). What does it take to implement open innovation? Towards an integrated capability framework. Business Process Management Journal, 23(1), 87-107.

Podmetina, D., Soderquist, K. E., Petraite, M., & Teplov, R. (2018). Developing a competency model for open innovation: From the individual to the organisational level. Management Decision, 56(6), 1306-1335.

Open Innovation Adoption Patterns and Strategies: an Empirical Analysis

Daria Podmetina1, Cristina Marullo2, Ekaterina Albats1, Iryna Maliatsina1

1Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland; 2Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna


Open innovation (OI) as managerial practice is not only widely studied by academic research, but also actively used by practitioners. While some scholars criticise OI for conceptual ambiguity (e.g. Trott and Hartmann, 2009), the proponents emphasise the importance of OI theory development for today’s companies’ strategy (Chesbrough and Bogers, 2014).


According to Gassmann and Enkel (2004), three core archetypes characterise the implementation of OI, namely outside-in, inside-out, and coupled processes. Dahlander and Gann (2010) enriched this framework by classifying OI practices offering different forms of compensation (i.e. non-pecuniary and pecuniary dimensions). While most OI literature has operationalised firms’ openness with the breadth and the depth of external knowledge sources used for innovation (Laursen and Salter, 2006), configurational studies observed different patterns of OI strategies (i.e. firms’ OI profiles) (Lazzarotti and Manzini, 2009; Barge-Gil, 2010; Brunswicker and Vanhaverbeke 2015). Recent studies (XX, 2019)* show a mismatch in the perception of the OI concept between the academic and the business world, as only a few innovation activities counted as ‘open’ by innovation scholars appear to affect companies’ self-perception of openness.

Literature Gap

Based on prior research (XX, 2019)* we further investigate the gap between the understanding of OI in business and academia through an original empirical approach. Few studies, to date, focus on the relationship between companies’ engagement in activities commonly associated with OI and companies’ self-identification as OI adopters.

Research Questions

The Research Questions are:

• Are there significantly different patterns of how companies adopt OI, and if so, can common OI strategies be identified?

• Is the selected OI strategy reflected in the company’s “attitude to openness”?

• Is the selected OI strategy reflected in the companies self-perception of “openness”?


The study is quantitative by nature, and it uses survey as a research strategy. Research design has four stages: 1) definition of the framework, questionnaire development and sampling (stratified); 2) online survey; 3) data analysis – use of clustering algorithms to identify companies’ profiles and Item Response Theory (IRT ) models to estimate firms’ “attitude to openness” as a latent trait; 4) elaboration of the results: openness and self-perception of openness in different OI profiles. The main variable used in the analysis is OI activities adoption, based on Chesbrough and Bruswicker (2013); interpreted by authors, validated by experts.

Empirical Material

The main language of the survey was English, but the questionnaire was translated into 12 other languages. The survey was a part of large-scale European project aiming at identifying industrial needs for skills and abilities required for OI specialists. The sampling was stratified by economic significance criteria of top 5-10 industries in for each country. The online survey via Webropol was launched in September 2014 and ended in June 2015. The survey covered all major European regions: Eastern, Western, Southern and Northern Europe. We also included countries at various stages of development (classification based on the Global Competitiveness Report). We approached innovation managers or R&D managers, directors and vice-directors as key respondents. The average response rate was about 10 %: in total, 525 (N=525) responses from 38 countries were collected. For the purpose of this study, we considered only private companies, therefore universities and governmental organizations were excluded from the analysis. As a result, the final sample consisted of 461 firms (over 40% of large firms, 40% of SMEs and almost 20%, of micro-firms).


We identified 6 strategies as configurations of OI practices adopted by companies. 2 polar groups emerge: very-active OI adopters (companies active in both inbound and outbound OI), and “non-adopters”. The IRT analysis reports significant differences in the means of “attitude to openness” between the two groups. We also identify a group of “Sources seekers” (firms mostly active in external search and networking) –and two similar groups of disruptive collaborative innovators: “picky selectors” (utilizing external knowledge to influence industry standards) and “beginners”, characterized by external knowledge search to “develop a new offering”. Overall, the 6 groups are more actively involved into inbound OI rather than in outbound and the majority of companies are active in non-pecuniary rather than in pecuniary OI modes, with the exception of the very-active adopters.. We find that the less companies are adopting outbound OI even being active in inbound type of activities, the less they tend to admit that they adopt OI. Active adopters acknowledge themselves as open innovators, while low adopters do realize that their innovation strategy is closed. However, the perception is not so univocal for the other groups. The difficulty coefficients estimated through the IRT model provide strong statistical support to such results.

Contribution to Scholarship

This study is a starting point in stimulating the debate among OI management scholars about the differences in perceptions towards OI. In particular, this paper contributes to identifying and analyzing the gap between the existing theoretical concept of “openness” and the current business perception. The outcomes of this paper can therefore contribute to further research on the conceptualization and measurement of OI. The most important contribution to scientific literature is the support we found to the last definition of OI by Henry Chesbrough (2014), that OI is about combination of inbound and outbound activities. Companies much more often report themselves as OI adopters, when they clearly adopt both inbound and outbound activities.

Thus, the results of this paper are useful for the researchers studying OI, the business representatives searching for their OI strategy as well as for policy makers evaluating the level of the OI activities adoption.

Contribution to Practice

The practicing managers will benefit from academic knowledge and business perception insights on open innovation as well as from best practices of OI adoption leading to higher performance. Managers can learn from systematic classification of OI activities by testing the current situation in their firms, adjust the open innovation approach and to define the perspective directions for further development of innovation strategy.


This submission contributes to key theme of R&D Management conference “The Innovation Challenge: Bridging Research, Industry and Society” with addressing the challenge of academic and business perception of open innovation.


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Chesbrough, H. and Brunswicker, S. (2013), Managing open innovation in large firms, Fraunhofer Verlag.

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Trott, P. and Hartmann, D. A. P. (2009), Why'open innovation'is old wine in new bottles, International Journal of Innovation Management, 13(04), 715-736.


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