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Development of practitioner guidelines for partnerships between start‐ups and large firms

Tim Minshall (Centre for Technology Management, University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge, UK)
Letizia Mortara (Centre for Technology Management, University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge, UK)
Stelios Elia (Centre for Technology Management, University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge, UK)
David Probert (Centre for Technology Management, University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge, UK)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 14 March 2008

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the development of the final outputs of a research project looking at partnerships between technology‐based start‐ups and large firms (“asymmetric” partnerships). It presents the stage of the research aimed at understanding how best to design outputs to assist firms in managing such partnerships.

Design/methodology/approach

A combination of company case studies, company workshops, an end‐user survey and pilot dissemination programme were used to identify an appropriate form for the packaging and delivery of the research findings (i.e. what problems can be encountered in such partnerships, and what approaches companies have implemented to overcome these problems).

Findings

A range of approaches for overcoming the problems of managing partnerships between firms whose age and size are markedly different were catalogued. The research presented in this paper revealed that companies felt best able to learn from the experiences of others through a combination of direct support, multi‐company workshops, and online access to selected materials.

Research limitations/implications

The generalisability of the findings may be limited by the fact that the majority of the organisations collaborating in this research either were located in the high‐technology business cluster in and around the city of Cambridge, UK or had formed partnerships with companies in this geographic region.

Practical implications

Partnerships between technology‐based start‐ups and technology‐intensive large firms can provide an effective means of accessing and integrating the complementary assets required to bring a novel technology to market. This research will help firms overcome the numerous challenges involved in setting up and managing such partnerships by providing stakeholders with easier access to academic research findings. It will assist researchers who are considering how to disseminate research outputs to industry.

Originality/value

There is a strong body of work on improving the performance of partnerships in general, but less on overcoming the practical challenges of managing partnerships between firms of markedly different age and scale. In addition, the selection of the optimum process for ensuring that the findings of such research are used to support implementation remains a topic of debate. This work helps to address both gaps.

Keywords

Citation

Minshall, T., Mortara, L., Elia, S. and Probert, D. (2008), "Development of practitioner guidelines for partnerships between start‐ups and large firms", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 391-406. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410380810853803

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited