Inderscience Publishers

Inter-organisational routines and transformation of customer relationships in collaborative innovation

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Innovation, learning and knowledge leverage are crucial for the competitive edge of knowledge-intensive firms. In recent research on business relationships, the significance of studying routines embedded in inter-organisational learning has been stressed as a key element in understanding the development of relationships. The purpose of this paper is to introduce an approach for increasing understanding of the driving forces and influence of inter-organisational routines in the transformation process towards deeper customer-orientated collaboration in innovation. In practice, the results of the paper aim to promote organisations' balance between exploitation- and exploration-related activities towards more customer-orientated innovation management. The case study on the knowledge-intensive engineering consultancy industry illustrates features, driving forces and observed routines influencing the transformation process and collaborative learning mechanisms. Final conclusions and managerial implications are based on an analysis of the theoretical and empirical parts of the study.

Keywords: collaborative innovation, engineering industry, inter-organisational relationships, knowledge intensity, routines, transformation process, customer relationships, inter-organisational learning, organisational learning, innovation management, collaborative learning

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