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The challenge of managing boundary-spanning research activities: Experiences from the Swedish context

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  • Adler, Niclas
  • Elmquist, Maria
  • Norrgren, Flemming

Abstract

Contemporary and future challenges when managing research involve coping with emerging prerequisites which include, among other things, a new knowledge production discourse, new research funding methods and new ways for international collaboration. Managers for boundary-spanning research activities need to combine the sometimes opposing logics and perspectives of the multiple stakeholders--the individual researchers searching for independence, sustainability and freedom and others searching for integration, relevance and predictability. Based on a collaborative research set-up including interviews, discussions and workshops with major Swedish research funding agencies, research program managers, experienced industry partners and key stakeholders, the paper identifies six main managerial challenges: (i) lack of focus on research management and unsatisfying prerequisites, (ii) weak identity and low status of the role of the research managers, (iii) few incentives for research management, (iv) lack of leadership development opportunities for researchers, (v) multiple (and sometimes contradictory) expectations from different stakeholders, and (vi) sustained funding. Finally, the managerial implications of these challenges for universities and funding agencies are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Adler, Niclas & Elmquist, Maria & Norrgren, Flemming, 2009. "The challenge of managing boundary-spanning research activities: Experiences from the Swedish context," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1136-1149, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:38:y:2009:i:7:p:1136-1149
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dubois, Anna & Gadde, Lars-Erik, 2002. "Systematic combining: an abductive approach to case research," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 55(7), pages 553-560, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chantale Mailhot & Stephanie Gagnon & François Normandin, 2010. "Managing A Plurality Of Interests And Collective Values," Portuguese Journal of Management Studies, ISEG, Universidade de Lisboa, vol. 0(3), pages 281-301.
    2. Diana Boehm & Teresa Hogan, 2014. "‘A jack of all trades’: the role of PIs in the establishment and management of collaborative networks in scientific knowledge commercialisation," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 134-149, February.
    3. James Cunningham & Paul O’Reilly & Conor O’Kane & Vincent Mangematin, 2014. "The inhibiting factors that principal investigators experience in leading publicly funded research," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 93-110, February.
    4. repec:spr:scient:v:97:y:2013:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-013-0981-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. James Cunningham & Paul O'Reilly & Conor O'Kane & Vincent Mangematin, 2014. "The inhibiting factors that principal investigators experience in leading publicly funded research projects," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-00756228, HAL.
    6. Conor O'Kane & James Cunningham & Vincent Mangematin, 2012. "Underpinning Strategic Behaviours and Posture of Principal Investigators in Transition/Uncertain Environments," Working paper serie RMT - Grenoble Ecole de Management hal-00794944, HAL.
    7. repec:hal:wpaper:hal-00756228 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Lundgren, Mikael & Jansson, Hans, 2016. "Developing international business knowledge through an appreciative inquiry learning network: Proposing a methodology for collaborative research," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 346-355.
    9. Vincent Mangematin & Paul O’Reilly & James Cunningham, 2014. "PIs as boundary spanners, science and market shapers," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 1-10, February.
    10. Johannes Fedderke, 2012. "The Objectivity of National Research Foundation Peer Review Based Ratings in South Africa," Working Papers 300, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    11. Klenk, Nicole Lisa & Wyatt, Stephen, 2015. "The design and management of multi-stakeholder research networks to maximize knowledge mobilization and innovation opportunities in the forest sector," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 77-86.
    12. repec:hal:gemwpa:hal-00756228 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Klenk, Nicole L. & Hickey, Gordon M., 2013. "How can formal research networks produce more socially robust forest science?," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 44-56.
    14. Daniela Baglieri & Gianni Lorenzoni, 2014. "Closing the distance between academia and market: experimentation and user entrepreneurial processes," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 52-74, February.
    15. Weigand, Kirk & Flanagan, Thomas & Dye, Kevin & Jones, Peter, 2014. "Collaborative foresight: Complementing long-horizon strategic planning," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 134-152.
    16. König, Bettina & Diehl, Katharina & Tscherning, Karen & Helming, Katharina, 2013. "A framework for structuring interdisciplinary research management," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 261-272.
    17. Hoffmann, Sabine & Pohl, Christian & Hering, Janet G., 2017. "Exploring transdisciplinary integration within a large research program: Empirical lessons from four thematic synthesis processes," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 678-692.

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