Orchestrating boundaries: The effect of R&D boundary permeability on new venture growth

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Author Information : Robert Nason, Concordia University
Johan Wiklund, Syracuse University
Alex McKelvie, Syracuse University
Michael Hitt, Texas A&M University
Wei Yu, Syracuse University

Year of Publication : Journal of Business Venturing (2018)

Summary of Findings : New ventures benefit from collaboration, but only up to a point.

Research Questions : How much collaboration and alliances should new ventures engage in?

What we know : Lots of companies these days engage in alliances, not least in R&D, and they are often being praised. However, we show that for new ventures, R&D collaboration is a mixed bag. Some collaboration is good for new ventures. But too many or too intense collaboration threatens the ability to build a solid internal knowledge base.

Novel Findings : Lots of companies these days engage in alliances, not least in R&D, and they are often being praised. However, we show that for new ventures, R&D collaboration is a mixed bag. Some collaboration is good for new ventures. But too many or too intense collaboration threatens the ability to build a solid internal knowledge base.

Implications for Practice : New ventures need to balance collaboration and solitude.

Implications for Society: There is a narrative suggesting that strategic alliances are universally good. That is not necessarily the case.

Full Citations : Nason, R. S., Wiklund, J., McKelvie, A., Hitt, M., & Yu, W. (2018). Orchestrating boundaries: The effect of R&D boundary permeability on new venture growth. Journal of Business Venturing.

Abstract : Highlights

• New ventures approach boundary decisions differently than established firms
• Inter-organizational relationships create permeable boundaries
• R&D boundary permeability provides access to external knowledge resources, but limits control over those resources
• R&D boundary permeability has an inverse U shaped relationship to sales growth
• Entrepreneurs must calibrate the nature as well as the location of new venture boundaries

Johan Wiklund

Johan Wiklund

Johan Wiklund is the Al Berg Endowed Chair and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University, USA and professor at Lund University, Sweden, and Nordland University, Norway. His research interests include entrepreneurship and mental health as well as the performance, growth, exit, and failure of entrepreneurial firms. He is considered a leading authority in entrepreneurship research with over 50 articles appearing in leading entrepreneurship and management journals. He is editor for Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, and previously editor for Journal of Business Venturing and Small Business Economics.
Johan Wiklund
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