Trust formation processes in innovative collaborations: networking as knowledge building practices

Hardwick, Jialin, Anderson, Alistair R. and Douglas, Cruickshank (2013) Trust formation processes in innovative collaborations: networking as knowledge building practices. European Journal of Innovation Management, 16 (1). pp. 4-21. ISSN 1460-1060

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Item Type:Article
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Purpose - This study examines the practices and processes of trust building and use in collaborative networking for product innovation and compares face to face with virtual networking.
Design/Methodology/Approach – Guided by a literature review and preliminary participant observation, 16 open ended interviews collected data about the processes in 11 small biotech firms. These data were inductively analysed by the constant comparative method to develop explanatory themes.
Findings – Trust was seen as requirement for successful collaborative innovation, but we identified how different dimensions of trust are located in the trust building processes. Trust works by creating a platform of confidence that fosters flows of information and the exchange of tacit knowledge. Two types of trust relationships, the technical and the social, work in different ways to produce different, but complementary, types of trust. Virtual environments suit technical trust building but are less suited to developing deeper, more enduring forms of trust.
Originality/Value – The paper contributes conceptually by theorising the trust building process and its role in collaborative innovation. It addresses a gap in the literature in identifying how trust is produced, developed and employed in furthering innovation, in particular the behavioural patterns of using virtual networks in furthering innovation.

Keywords:Collaboration, Innovation, Trust, Knowledge, SMEs, Biotechnology, Virtual networks, Networking
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N100 Business studies
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:4671
Deposited On:05 Oct 2011 10:52

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