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Management control of collaborative innovation: design and structuring mode

Soufiane Kherrazi (UVSQ, IAE Graduate School of Management, LAREQUOI, University of Paris-Saclay, France)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 2 April 2020

Issue publication date: 27 May 2021




This paper addresses the issue of management control (MC) of collaborative innovation. It attempts to fill this gap in MC literature by considering both contingency and internal consistency perspectives influencing the MC setting, especially in the context of R&D alliances. Opening the boundaries of R&D has implications for the design of MC. It involves particular challenges and raises specific tensions of competing demands between control and innovation.


Based on a quantitative survey of sponsored European consortia and using the structural equation modeling method, we design an interfirm MC model to support collaborative innovation.


Our results show that the innovation ecosystem plays a critical role as an institutional element shaping the MC design. We also infer based on our findings that the package approach is more suitable than the system one to set up control practices within a collaborative innovation context. Thus, the package allows several configurations of MC in an ongoing process that, in turn, leads to deal with organizational tensions and conflicting pressures in a dynamic way. Accordingly, the package's effectiveness seems to be related to its “fit” with the alliance context rather than its “internal consistency”.

Research limitations/implications

This study advances MC literature by combining two theoretical perspectives to address interfirm MC, especially in the field of innovation that raises specific challenges. The findings lead also to build a bridge with a new perspective, i.e. evolutionary perspective, as the package suggests an ongoing process of resolving dynamic tensions between control requirements and innovation needs.

Practical implications

The study suggests a model of MC package that provides managers with a range of viable configurations and alternatives to support collaborative innovation, control activities, adapt to changes, resolve tensions and drive performance.


Instead of prior studies, the study relies upon both contingency and internal consistency perspectives to examine the MC design and structuring mode. In addition, the empirical part of this research deals with the case of European sponsored R&D consortia as a form of collaborative innovation. Unlike traditional R&D alliances, management control within sponsored consortia seems to be more complex to address as the consortium is multilateral, the grants are public and the goals may diverge given the broad variety of organizations the consortium involves.



Kherrazi, S. (2021), "Management control of collaborative innovation: design and structuring mode", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 848-869.



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