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Graduate Students as Boundary Spanners: How Academic Engagement can influence Firm Innovation

Paper i proceeding
Författare Karin Berg
Maureen McKelvey
Publicerad i Academy of Management. Annual Meeting Proceedings
ISSN 2151-6561
Förlag Academy of Management. Annual Meeting Proceedings
Publiceringsår 2020
Publicerad vid Institutionen för ekonomi och samhälle, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE)
Språk en
Länkar https://journals.aom.org/loi/amproc
Ämnesord Academic engagement with industry, university-industry interactions, collaborative research, boundary spanner, absorptive capacity, capabilities, and engineering.
Ämneskategorier Ekonomi och näringsliv

Sammanfattning

This paper contributes to literature on “academic engagement with industry”, by exploring graduate students as boundary spanners between firms and universities. As contrasted with studies of commercialization of scientific results through patents and start-up firms, literature on academic engagement focuses on how faculty members and students engage in knowledge-related interactions with external organizations. Extant literature has focused more on universities and less on firms. We conceptualize graduate students as holding a boundary spanning position between the firm and university, focusing empirically upon firm employed PhD students in engineering. More specifically, we investigate how their activities constitute a form of academic engagement, in order to further understand their influence on the firms’ absorptive capacity. We revise an existing conceptual framework and further develop the notion that there are two pathways – e.g. a direct and an indirect pathway – by which collaborative research may impact innovation outcomes within firms. When doing so, we specify how graduate student activities mainly support the development of firm capabilities for early stages in the innovation process, specifically recognizing the value and, to some extent, assimilating new external knowledge. We conclude with two propositions about how boundary spanner activities can be conceptualized as organizational routines underlying search capabilities

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