Processes in R&D Collaboration

Processes in R&D Collaboration

Sanne Bor, Kees Boersma
DOI: 10.4018/jitpm.2010070101
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This paper examines the process leading to a formalised co-operation. A comparative case study of Research and Development (R&D) collaborations illustrates how, during the process of formalising, the creation of shared understanding of the co-operation is supported or hindered. When participants are involved in setting goals, writing work plans, and creating the rules for the co-operation, each participant will have a better understanding of their relationship with others, their own role and responsibility and those of the others. In this study, the authors identify five possible factors that encourage or discourage the partners to use the process of formalising for the purpose of sensemaking.
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Network Formalisation As A Sensemaking Process

If the partners in a collaborative network are to be effective in their collaboration, they need to create a shared understanding of the collaboration. In an inter-organisational setting in which the participants have commitments to both their own organisation and the network, a shared understanding is even more important. A shared understanding of the expectations of each partner concerning the desired outcomes, how to work together and how decisions are made is essential in preventing frustration, demotivation or even conflict. In more positive terms, it encourages participants in a collaborative network to be effective, supportive and motivated to work together. In this paper, the concept of sensemaking (Weick, 1995) is used to refer to the process of creating this shared understanding. According to Weick (1995), sensemaking is at its simplest “the making of sense” (p.4) and it has the following seven properties: (1) it is grounded in identity construction; (2) it is retrospective; (3) it enacts sensible environments; (4) it is social; (5) it is ongoing; (6) it is based on extracted cues; and (7) it is based on plausibility rather than accuracy.

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