The purpose of this Special Issue is to invite and collect a series of theoretical and empirical contributions on the focal issue. We invite scholars from diverse disciplines to shed light on the determinants, conditions, dimensions, outcomes, moderating factors, and subtle nuances of corporate-startup collaboration using different theoretical perspectives as well as different methodological strategies. Potential perspectives and subsequent research themes include, but are not limited to:
Looking at the collaboration (inside the dyad):
○ How do dynamics of knowledge creation, appropriation, and capture unfold?
What drives them? How does the inception/origin of the collaboration shape
How are the diverse interests, timescales, and emerging tensions balanced? What
are the mitigation strategies and tactics to overcome such tensions? How do they influence the subsequent activities in the collaboration? What drives escalation/de-escalation of commitment in these asymmetrical collaborations?
Taking the corporate perspective:
○ What are the motivations behind the adoption of different models for corporate-startup collaborations? Are there observed complementarities/substitution effects across the different startup engagement models? Are there any differences in how corporates engage with start-ups vs. scaleups? How do these different models address the tensions that emerge between corporates and startups?
○ What strategic choices do corporates make when collaborating with startups? How do corporates organize to engage with startups in these rather lightweight and arms-length forms? How do more inward-looking R&D/innovation functions open up to explore startup venture collaborations? How does the organizing of the collaboration create and capture value from the startup? What drives the organizational design choices and collaboration configurations (i.e., internal units vs. intermediary or external organizations, boundary-spanning units)?
○ What explains the diversity of possible corporate outcomes? When are (or not) these collaborations reverting in productive innovations? What other outcomes - tangible and intangible - are valuable in this collaboration context?
● Following the startup perspective:
○ What motivates startups to engage in these collaborations? What antecedents and factors explain these motivations? How does the structure (or absence of it) and modes of collaboration attract similar or different types of new ventures, e.g., startup vs. scaleup working in B2C vs. B2B contexts? How do the motivations to collaborate change depending on the startup maturity (i.e., early-stage vs growth- oriented or later stage)?
○ How are these corporate collaborations convergent (or divergent) with the startup’s venture emergence, i.e., their entrepreneurial strategy? How do they overlap or complement the startup’s market entry or innovation strategy?
○ What are the collaboration outcomes for the startup? How can we measure them? How do these outcomes (positive or successful/negative or failed) influence the startup’s further development, identity, legitimacy, pivots, as well as further entrepreneurial innovation collaborations? Is there a dark side of such collaborations, what consequences does it have for the startups? How do managers and policy-makers avoid those dark sides and orchestrate towards more desirable futures?
● Broadening (looking beyond the dyad) to the ecosystem perspective:
○ How do these corporate-startup collaborations shape the emergence, consolidation, or renewal of innovation ecosystems? In what ways do these collaborations nurture entrepreneurial ecosystems? Do they contribute to an increased pace of technology development in the ecosystem? (If so, how?) Do they broaden the technology-market possible combinations, economic complexity, or problems that the ecosystem addresses?
○ How do the different modes of corporate- startup collaboration (e.g., individual vs consortium-based accelerator; venture client vs. venture builder; short-term such as hackathon and long-term such as a startup supplier program) between startups and established firms strengthen or complement the more vertical innovation ecosystem dynamics, as well as the more horizontal entrepreneurial ecosystems’ logics? How do the actual collaboration outcomes contribute to such dynamics, and how can they be steered over time?
Ferran Giones (University of Stuttgart)
Cristobal Garcia-Herrera (Imperial College Business School) Raj Shankar (Nord University)
Sheryl Winston Smith (BI Norwegian Business School) Bram Timmermans (NHH Norwegian School of Economics)