Knowledge creation in complex inter-organizational arrangements: understanding the barriers and enablers of university-industry knowledge creation in science-based cooperation

Adrian Tootell (University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)
Elias Kyriazis (University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)
Jon Billsberry (University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)
Véronique Ambrosini (Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Sam Garrett-Jones (University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)
Gordon Wallace (University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Publication date: 16 November 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the factors undergirding knowledge creation in the university-industry complex inter-organizational arrangement. It builds upon social capital and relationship marketing theories.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a qualitative research design. In total, 36 innovation champions involved in knowledge creation were interviewed to provide detailed insights into the process. A thematic analysis of the in-depth interviews was conducted.

Findings

The principal finding was that opportunistic behavior was a significant barrier to knowledge creation. In severe cases, the knowledge creation process was destroyed, resulting in lost investment. Principled behavior and investment in affect-based and cognition-based trust, through five critical trust development activities, provided the best path to successful knowledge creation.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the knowledge management literature by providing insights into the enablers and barriers to the formation of cooperation, a crucial antecedent to knowledge creation literature. It also affords practical implications for innovation managers and policymakers on how they can improve knowledge creation by using social capital and relationship marketing theory in complex inter-organizational arrangements.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Professors Olivia and Del Giudice for their support and the smooth processing of the paper. They are also thankful to the reviewers for their constructive comments. Funding: The authors acknowledge the support for this work from the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), and the Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP).

Citation

Tootell, A., Kyriazis, E., Billsberry, J., Ambrosini, V., Garrett-Jones, S. and Wallace, G. (2020), "Knowledge creation in complex inter-organizational arrangements: understanding the barriers and enablers of university-industry knowledge creation in science-based cooperation", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-06-2020-0461

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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