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Title: Becoming partners : a processual approach to the formation and development of university-industry research partnerships
Author: Horner, S. C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8505 6133
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2019
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University-Industry interaction has become an increasingly important priority for organisations and policy-makers as a source of innovation. Organisations are increasingly engaging with universities to enhance innovation efforts and drive productivity in R&D. Policy-makers are increasingly looking to university-industry interaction as a means of stimulating innovation-based economic development. Whilst there is a substantial body of research that has examined the transfer of technology from academic to industrial contexts, there is comparatively limited research related to university-industry research collaboration. Recently, the concept of university-industry research partnerships has been advanced to characterise enduring collaborative arrangements between firms and universities. However, despite this conceptual advancement, we still have little understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of such collaborative arrangements. Thus, the primary research question posed here is “How do university-industry research partnerships emerge and develop over time?”. To answer this research question, I draw upon recent advancements in process theories of organisation as well as the process metaphysics of A.N Whitehead. These theoretical insights are integrated with existing approaches to alliance dynamics to elaborate a processual model of partnership development. I draw upon a single longitudinal case study of the strategic research partnership between Unilever and the University of Liverpool to demonstrate how processual approaches to organisation advance our understanding of alliance dynamics in general and the dynamics of university-industry research partnerships in particular. I show that the emergence and development of partnerships is underpinned by the relationality and activity of events and advocate an ‘unowned’ process of partnership development driven by the dispersed forces of choice, chance and determinism. I also demonstrate how a Whiteheadian events-based theory of organisation can be mobilised to resolve the ‘being-becoming’ dualism inherent in existing process theory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral