Resource Combining across Inter-organisational Project Boundaries
Doctoral thesis, 2006
This thesis focuses on the interplay between resource use and development that takes place in relation to inter-organisational research projects. Research and development efforts are characterised by resource combining in collaboration and networks among actors. One way of organising such efforts is inter-organisational projects. In the thesis, inter-organisational research projects are analysed in a network context.
The theoretical framework takes its starting point in the Industrial Network Approach. The notions of resource heterogeneity and embeddedness are taken as vital assumptions and points of departure for the analysis of resource combining in a network context. Empirically the thesis builds on an in-depth case study of an inter-organisational research project in the field of plant biotechnology. The project in focus consists of four project members: two companies and two university departments. This project has been studied between 2001 and 2004.
The case study illustrates how resource combining takes place across project boundaries. Thus, inter-organisational projects may not only use and develop resources internally in order to fulfil the project goals, but may also relate to research endeavours outside the project. Project embeddedness is discussed in terms of project members respective resource collections, including their access to project external resources. Five patterns are suggested for understanding how projects are linked to their contexts. It is argued that the mixture of these patterns sets the terms for how a project may cope with its context during a research process. Finally, the role of the project boundary is discussed in terms of two functions: separating and relating, both being of importance for resource combining across the project boundary. By extending the analysis beyond the project boundary, network effects can be observed, thus providing a wider scope of resource combining than what may be captured by focusing only on what takes place within projects.
13.15 Vasa C, Vasaområdet, Vera Sandbergs Allé 8, Chalmers.
Opponent: Professor Geoff Easton, Lancaster University, UK.