Chapter 8: Relying on Trust in Cooperative Inter-Organizational Relationships
Andrew H. Van de Ven and Peter Smith Ring Introduction Slightly over 20 years ago with approximately 35 colleagues, we began a multi-year research collaboration into the dynamics of innovation.1 It became known as the Minnesota Innovation Research Program (MIRP), coordinated by the Strategic Management Research Center of the University of Minnesota. Among the ﬁve critical concepts that helped guide our collective research eﬀorts was the notion of transactions. We had come to see this concept as central to the innovation process because our review of several extant literatures revealed that innovation frequently was a product of inter-organizational collaborations, and the transactions that they produced. In addition, discussions with executives, managers, engineers and bench scientists at ﬁrms reputed to be among the leaders in the USA in fostering climates conducive to innovation led us to conclude that a study of the processes associated with innovation would require an investigation of the dynamics of collaborative eﬀorts between groups of individuals and the ﬁrms, governmental agencies and non-governmental agencies that employed those individuals. An explicit focus on the concept of trust did not surface in early discussions among MIRP investigators on what aspects of innovation to study. But as Ring and Rands (1989) moved more deeply into their study of the collaboration between 3M and NASA to employ the space shuttle as a vehicle for studying the eﬀects of near zero gravity on a variety of experiments, it became apparent that reliance on trust was an underlying theme in...
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