Empirical Investigations of Trust and Trust Building in Uncertain Circumstances
Edited by Katinka Bijlsma-Frankema and Rosalinde Klein Woolthuis
Chapter 6: Managing Trust and the Risk of Information Leakage in Collaborative Research and Technology Development: Results from a Case Study in a Specialist Chemicals Industry
6. Managing trust and the risk of information leakage in collaborative research and technology development: results from a case study in a specialist chemicals industry Andreas Hoecht INTRODUCTION Nowadays it is hardly surprising that the strategic management and the knowledge management literature broadly agree in that companies operating in research-intensive industries should pursue ‘outward-looking’ research and technology development strategies. The optimistic view that competitive advantages can be gained from strategic alliances and collaborative technology development that permeates the strategic management literature (Porter, 1987; Bleeke and Ernst, 1992; Doz and Hamel, 1997) is supported by a wealth of detailed studies on collaborative research, in particular on research networks in technology intensive industries (Newell and Clark, 1990; Powell et al., 1996). Looking inward is no longer a viable option. Even the most resourceful ﬁrms appear no longer able to rely exclusively on internal R&D and explorative knowledge creation in particular relies on participation in research networks (Powell, 1990). Participation in collaborative research and research networks, however, requires ‘openness’ and relatively free information exchange as a vital precondition for successful organizational learning. And it is this openness and free information exchange that makes companies vulnerable to the risk of information leakage (McMillan et al., 1995). In an earlier paper, Hoecht and Trott (1999) developed a conceptual framework linking different technology development strategies with their associated risk of information leakage and the control mechanisms that can be used to deal with this risk. We found that trust and ‘social control’ become more important,...
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