Exploring the cultural differences of university-industry research collaborations and their management implications

Beryl Morris, Robert Hunt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


Collaborations abound and offer competitive advantage to the parties, However, collaborative relationships can be difficult to manage, particularly where there are cultural differences. The result may be failure or a suboptimal outcome. Cultural differences occur between university-industry (U-I) research collaborators and this exploratory study of U-I collaborations in the Australian biotechnology sector seeks to understand why management of U-I collaborations is challenging and answer the question of which criteria the participants in a U-I collaboration perceive to be important. Relational signalling theory provides a framework for interpreting the results. An innovative technique, Multi-criteria Mapping (MCM), was used for gathering in-depth, semi-structured interview data from 52 U-I participants. In MCM, qualitative and quantitative data are considered together and interpretation of each is mutually informed by the other. Attitudes and perceptions of industry and academic personnel were sought to appraise the potential performance of four core and a number of discretionary styles of collaboration. Expectations of collaboration outcomes differed between U-I groups, particularly with respect to intellectual property issues and preparedness to take risks. These are key components of trust and point to the need for changing practices when initiating collaborations to ensure robust understanding of the respective expectations and motivations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 8th International CINet Conference
Subtitle of host publicationContinuous innovation - opportunities and challenges : 7-11 September, 2007, Gothenburg, Sweden
PublisherContinuation Innovation Network
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9789077360095
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventInternational CINet Conference (8th : 2007) - Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 7 Sept 200711 Sept 2007


ConferenceInternational CINet Conference (8th : 2007)
CityGothenburg, Sweden


  • collaboration
  • trust
  • university-industry
  • biotechnology
  • multi-criteria-mapping


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