Knowledge Integration in Inter-firm R&D Collaboration: How do Firms Manage Problems of Coordination and Cooperation?
Firms often need to collaboratively use and integrate two or more organizations' knowledge bases in order to achieve their goals. This is a challenging task due to two sets of commonly identified problems: ‘problems of coordination’ that derive from knowledge contingencies, and ‘problems of cooperation’ that derive from relationship factors. While literature often treats these problems independently, this chapter focuses on how they can be modelled jointly within a framework grounded in knowledge-based and transaction cost approaches to the firm. The findings from a case study of three inter-firm R&D collaborations suggest that treating both problems as interdependent, rather than isolated, can provide a better account for the challenges and structure of inter-firm R&D collaborations. The results imply that neither firms nor research should focus too much on either of the problems at the expense of the other.
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