Rotating Leadership and Collaborative Innovation: Recombination Processes in Symbiotic Relationships

Administrative Science Quarterly, December 2010

62 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2011

See all articles by Jason P. Davis

Jason P. Davis

INSEAD

Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

Stanford University - Department of Management Science & Engineering

Date Written: July 19, 2011

Abstract

Relationships between organizations are at the heart of how industries are organized, and are central to industry innovation. Using a multiple case, inductive study of eight technology collaborations between ten organizations in the computing and communications industries, this paper examines why some interorganizational relationships engender innovations while others do not. Comparisons of more and less innovative collaborations show that collaborative innovation involves not only possessing the appropriate structural antecedents (e.g., R&D capabilities, social embeddedness) suggested by prior research, but by employing dynamic organizational processes that solve critical innovation problems related to recombination across boundaries. While domineering and consensus leadership processes are associated with less innovation, more innovative collaborations employ a rotating leadership process that involves alternating decision control to use complementary capabilities in both partner organizations, zig-zagging trajectories that engender broad technological search, and fluctuating network cascades to promote the mobilization of highly varied participants. A broader contribution is to describe how recombination processes like rotating leadership underlie the capacity of organizations to develop symbiotic relationships that are prominent in dynamic and interdependent environments like the computing and communications industry.

Keywords: Collaboration, Innovation, Relationships, Interorganizational, Multiple Case

Suggested Citation

Davis, Jason P. and Eisenhardt, Kathleen M., Rotating Leadership and Collaborative Innovation: Recombination Processes in Symbiotic Relationships (July 19, 2011). Administrative Science Quarterly, December 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1889846

Jason P. Davis (Contact Author)

INSEAD ( email )

1 Ayer Rajah Avenue
Singapore
Singapore

Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

Stanford University - Department of Management Science & Engineering ( email )

473 Via Ortega
Stanford, CA 94305-9025
United States

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