Collaboration, Brokerage and Technology Development
: Providing New Insights to Minimise the Risk of Network Failure

  • Andrew Hale

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisEngineering Doctorate (EngD)


In recent years, inter-organisational collaborations have gained popularity as a vehicle for organisations to develop technology, becoming increasingly prevalent in a range of industry sectors. Such prominence has been exacerbated as technology and engineering companies seek to react to rapid contextual changes in their core markets. Specifically, this increasing contextual complexity is positively influencing many organisation’s predilection to collaborate in an attempt to remain competitive through diversification and service expansion.

However, whilst the motivations and reasons justifying the acceleration of collaborative models are well understood, approaches to support the development and maintenance of them are not. Specifically, there exist no practical approaches which seek to minimise the risk of organisations working together for the purpose of technology development. As a result, the majority of industry collaborations that form are prone to failure.

This thesis seeks to address this problem. Drawing on a multi-methodological approach including case study and action case research, this thesis develops a framework of principles to support the design of collaborative technology developments inferred by extant literature and industry best practice. The thesis then seeks to better understand how such principles can be applied more constructively in a practical setting by testing several techniques on industry cases. Finally, the thesis explores how the composition and distribution of actors present in a collaborative technology development may be assessed, from a network level perspective, to infer the likelihood of failure. Three key characteristics are identified and a recommended distribution and typology of actors are presented.
Date of Award1 Jan 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorLeroy White (Supervisor)

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