Collaboration for Innovation: A Case Study on How Social Capital Mitigates Collaborative Challenges in University–Industry Research Alliances
Differences in goals and approaches between firms and universities often lead to challenges that prevent the realization of fruitful university--industry collaboration. This paper explores how the development of cognitive and relational social capital can, over time, mitigate such challenges and encourage fruitful collaboration between firms and universities in research alliances for the development of innovations. Using a multi-level perspective at the individual, organizational and alliance levels of social capital, this paper investigates firms participating in two contrasting research alliances: one well-established research alliance and one emerging alliance. This study suggests that the development of both cognitive and relational social capital at the individual, organizational and alliance levels appears crucial for effective collaboration in research alliances over time. Common goals and understandings regarding the collaboration and the creation of personal relationships between the employees of firms and universities helps mitigate collaborative challenges, stimulate cohesion and realize the goal of creating innovations.