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R&D consortia as boundary organisations: Misalignment and asymmetry of boundary management

Omidvar, O and Kislov, R (2016) R&D consortia as boundary organisations: Misalignment and asymmetry of boundary management. International Journal of Innovation Management, 20 (2). ISSN 1363-9196

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Abstract

The paper presents a qualitative multiple case study of three multilateral public-private R&D consortia representing different industrial sectors. Using the practice-based view as a theoretical lens, we explore the interplay between the deliberate and emergent practices of boundary management across the following three dimensions: (1) Boundary bridging focus; (2) boundary crossing arrangements; and (3) collaborative governance arrangements. Drawing on interviews, documentary analysis and observational data, we describe the misalignment between the deliberate and emergent aspects of boundary management, which can be caused by the funders' reporting requirements, power differentials between collaborators and lack of contextual understanding. These factors, accompanied by path-dependency and confidentiality issues, may result in asymmetrical boundary management, whereby a selective focus on a specific boundary (or set of boundaries) combined with an unequal development of boundary bridges within the collaboration may lead to the crossing of some boundaries being prioritised at the expense of others.

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