Aligning Internal and External Collaboration Systems to Improve New Product Development Performance
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A majority of today’s product and service innovations call for firms to engage in collaborative activity within and simultaneously collaborate with entities outside their boundaries. In many circumstances, this requires firms to align their internal collaborative activities with their external collaborative activities. However, while collaboration within the firm (internal collaboration) and between firms (external collaboration) both have received much attention in a variety of research domains in the last 25 years, they have remained fairly disconnected research streams. Little is known about how internal and external collaboration activities align to improve innovative performance. I present a series of five inter-linked core papers that attempt to address this question of alignment. Based on a literature review of 119 studies in core paper 1, a multi-attribute conception of collaboration emerges. This forms the basis for my definition of a collaboration system. The latter is then used in subsequent core papers 2, 3, 4, and 5 to empirically examine the configurations of and alignments between internal and external collaboration systems and how they jointly impact on 134 innovation alliances. In core paper 2 (Chapter 4), I find that a mediation effect of internal collaboration systems on external collaboration systems matters more than the effect of external collaboration on innovation performance alone. The findings of core paper 3 (Chapter 5) suggest that internal and external collaboration systems are differently configured and that external collaboration systems still account for value to innovation performance through multiplicative relationships amongst external collaborative activities. In core paper 4 (Chapter 6), I find that internal collaboration systems also moderate the relationship external collaboration systems have with new product development performance. In core paper 5 (Chapter 7), I compare internal and external collaboration systems as predictors of performance in service developments versus new product developments. The findings suggest that internal collaboration systems look and impact in a similar way, independently of whether a new service or a new product is being developed. However, in an examination of NSD versus NPD, attributes of external collaboration systems reveal significantly different relationships with performance. Together, the findings of each of the five core papers of this thesis add to the current body of collaboration research in different ways. The alignments within and across both collaboration systems, captured in terms of the relationships among a number of attributes, highlight the need to investigate collaboration as coordinated systems. Both systems are distinct in terms of their components and add different value for different types of innovation. Albeit being different, their interactive nature is essential to understand in order to align them for successful new product and service innovations. In the Conclusion and Future Research Chapter (Chapter 8), I first integrate the findings of the five preceding core papers into a number of key implications before shifting to suggestions for future research. This future research part focuses on aligning collaboration systems over time. I raise a ‘stability-flexibility paradox’ that guides future research into managing collaboration systems. I use and expand upon current dynamic capability theory to address this paradox.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Griffith Business School
Item Access Status
Product development performance