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Paradoxical tensions in open innovation networks

Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa (Center for Business, Technology and Law, McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA Enterprise Simulation Laboratory, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, School of Science and Technology, Aalto University, Aalto, Finland)
Alina Wernick (Enterprise Simulation Laboratory, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, School of Science and Technology, Aalto University, Aalto, Finland)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 4 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to advance the paradox management perspective by applying it to open innovation networks in Finland and argues that paradox management is an important explicit logic to consider in the management of open innovation.

Design/methodology approach

Interviews sought the views of diverse network participants, including companies, universities, and government agencies.

Findings

The open innovation networks exhibited many of the same tensions discussed in innovation initiatives within organizations, but additional complexities arose from both internal and external factors.

Research limitations/implications

The study examined open innovation networks when the collaboration in the networks was still in early phases. Thus, the study does not capture the paradoxes, underlying tensions, and management approaches as they change in later phases.

Practical implications

The open innovation networks require the ability to excel in managing a set of paradoxical tensions using a complex repertoire of approaches. Open innovation can be seen as an important way to create dynamicity and change, and if managers are able to manage tensions using a complex set of behavioral approaches, they can more likely achieve increased innovation.

Originality/value

The open innovation literature recognizes paradoxes but does not address their management directly. This paper deepens the understanding of paradoxical tensions and their management across open innovation networks that take the form of public‐private partnerships.

Keywords

Citation

Jarvenpaa, S.L. and Wernick, A. (2011), "Paradoxical tensions in open innovation networks", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 521-548. https://doi.org/10.1108/14601061111174943

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited