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A Psychological Contract Perspective on R&D Alliance Projects: Learning from a Close-to-Failing Case


  • Kaulio, Matti

    () (Department of Industrial Economics and Management, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm)


Abstract: The aim of this article is to illustrate how the process model for collaborative ventures (Ariño and de la Torre, 1998) and psychological contract theory could function as analytical frameworks for investigations of R&D alliance projects. To empirically illustrate this, we have used as example an analysis of a dyadic R&D alliance, which was close to failure. Findings reveal the following results: (i) that the process model for collaborative ventures is also valid for dyadic R&D alliance projects; (ii) that the concept of psychological contracts presents an alternative perspective when describing collaboration in R&D alliance projects; (iii) that critical incidents is a common denominator in both theoretical approaches; and (iv) that, in contrast to transactional contracts, relational psychological contracts relate to a successful outcome. The managerial implication of the study is that, either manifested as points for contract re-negotiation (process-oriented alliance theory) or as violations (psychological contract theory), critical incidents are vital to manage in order to secure a successful outcome of the alliance.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaulio, Matti, 2013. "A Psychological Contract Perspective on R&D Alliance Projects: Learning from a Close-to-Failing Case," INDEK Working Paper Series 2013/3, Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Industrial Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:kthind:2013_003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Isabelle Huault & V. Perret & S. Charreire-Petit, 2007. "Management," Post-Print halshs-00337676, HAL.
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    More about this item


    Strategic Alliance; Outsourced R&D; Project Leadership; Qualitative Research;

    JEL classification:

    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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