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|Title:||Innovating at the interface : a comparative case study of innovation process dynamics and outcomes in the public-private context|
|Series:||Acta Universitatis oeconomicae Helsingiensis. A, 1237-556X ; 260.|
|Year:||2005 Thesis defence date: 2005-11-29|
|Discipline:||Organization and Management|
|Index terms:||Innovaatiot; Innovation; Julkinen sektori; Organisaatio; Organization; Private sector; Processes; Prosessit; Public sector; Research and development; Tutkimus ja kehitys; Yksityinen sektori|
|Bibid:||326601 | Availability info (Aalto-Finna)|
|Abstract (eng):||Innovating at the Interface - A Comparative Case Study of Innovation Process Dynamics and Outcomes in the Public-Private Context This study deals with the emergence of inter-organizational relationships (henceforth IORs) between public and private organizations, and the critical action employed by firm R&D management in the process. The focus is on the developmental stages of IORs.
The study’s comparative case study research design gains relevance from the different outcomes of the two empirical technology development and diffusion projects explored in this study. In the WellMate Project, public-private IORs and commercialized products emerged, while the Koillismaa Pilot did not succeed in these tasks during our research period. In addition, the two projects were carried out in a shared context (the Finnish public health care system), the technologies were similar in many aspects (radical information and communication technology inventions), and the innovation processes seemed to possess similarities as well. Thus, the comparative research task of the present study is to explore the process mechanisms leading to different outcomes of the two technology development and diffusion projects that otherwise shared a number of similarities.
According to the key finding, the case-specific antecedent conditions embedded in the firm and its R&D management, in the operating environment, and in the technology under development were strongly involved with the different outcomes of the otherwise relatively similar case projects. Hence, the antecedent conditions perspectives evolve into the key explanatory framework of the present study. These antecedent conditions appear to have affected the technology development and IOR processes from the projects’ start to their finish. In addition, this finding suggests that to a certain degree, the dynamics and the end result of a specific technology development and diffusion project are partly pre-determined from the moment the antecedents’ constellation of that project is fixed.
The study’s findings on the emergence of public-private IORs and the technology firm R&D management’s critical action can be grouped into three categories according to the levels of analysis: 1) the inter-organizational level findings, 2) the actor level findings, and 3) the cross-level findings.
In the first category, the study suggests three conclusions. First, it is concluded that the differences in the participating organizations’ interests seem to provide explanations for the dynamics witnessed in the case data. In this vein, there seems to be a variety of differences between the public and the private rationales. The study highlights the major difference between a technology firm and a public organization: the former is more driven by the exploitation of future possibilities, while the latter seems to be more occupied with maintaining the status quo in a given operating environment. Second, the study suggests a link between the differing public-private rationales and the ‘rules of the game’: in contexts of differing public-private rationales, the need for elaborating common ground and shared ‘rules of the game’ is accentuated. Third, the emergence of inter-organizational relationships, however, seems to be hindered by the existence of an asymmetrical dependency relationship between the technology firms and the public organizations.
In the second category, the main finding suggests that R&D management’s critical action varies across cases and seems to form sequential patterns. The critical actions of R&D management, however, do not necessarily guarantee the successful completion of an innovation process. Resulting from empirical analysis, a typology of critical action by firm R&D management is constructed.
The third category of findings, the cross-level conclusions, consists of three findings. First, the emergence of public-private IORs seems to exhibit a variety of inter-organizational contradictions, conflicts and frictions, which are also conveyed to the actor-level. It can be argued that the asymmetrical power distribution between public and private organizations and the ambiguous and even non-existent ‘rules of the game’ makes the process unclear, uncertain and arbitrary for firm R&D managers. Second, the empirical evidence suggests that without any significant role in defining and formulating the ‘rules of the game’, firm R&D management’s critical actions seem to have extremely limited effects in mobilizing the public technology user organizations (hospitals, health care centers, etc.) and regulators. Third, from the perspective of the technology firms and their R&D management, the main conclusions emerge from the observed power dynamics between the constituent organizations (technology firms, technology user organizations, public regulators). These organizations have different rationales and agendas, resulting in incompatible and potentially conflicting interests, which seem to be resolved to the benefit of the more powerful organizations in a given organizational field.
|Thesis defence announcement:|
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark