Management Activities in Short-term Interorganisational Innovation Projects

  • Natasha Clennell

Student thesis: Phd


Regardless of the prevailing economic conditions, firms need continuous innovation in order to provide them with a sustainable competitive advantage and also to create differentiation from competitors (Drucker, 2008). Innovation strategy can be achieved via projects (Kerzner, 2017) and project management has become a preferred method for delivering innovation (Kerzner, 2017). In practice, projects are prevalent and important for firm competitiveness and growth. However, little is known about how this works in the context of short-term interorganisational innovation projects, as much of the existing research is focused on innovation development which takes place in long-term interorganisational settings. Ahuja (2000); Schilling and Phelps, (2007); von Raesfeld, Geurts and Jansen, (2012) and de Zubielqui, Jones and Statsenko, (2016), for example, have all focused their studies on networks which organisations use to foster innovation. This study focuses on the management activities (and their drivers and barriers), necessary for innovation development. The innovation process is explored via a conceptual framework, underpinned by an extensive review of literature on networks, projects, and innovation. It is based upon combining the principles of phased innovation development (Cooper and Kleinschmidt, 1995); and management activities proposed and discovered by Aarikka-Stenroos et al., (2017). A multiple case study research design is used to fully understand the innovation process and the specific management activities employed to create the innovations; thirty-four in-depth interviews, in six short-term interorganisational innovation projects were carried out. Additional document research and observation gave supplementary evidence to support the interview data collection process. Data analysis is thematic. The setting chosen for this research is the city of Manchester, in the North-West of England. Manchester is Europe's second largest creative, digital and media hub and the industry is growing faster in the city than anywhere else in the UK (Midas, 2015). This research makes five contributions to extant literature on management activities, short-term interorganisational innovation projects and the innovation process: (1) The identification of the second order management activity: learning, knowledge creation & transfer and the importance of the differences observed in the management activities, particularly leveraging. (2) How the timely completion of the various innovation phases (through effective implementation of the management activities) impacts on the speed of innovation development and consequently faster market entry. (3) The lack of insurmountable barriers to the innovation process and adds nuance to our understanding through the indentifcation of interaction specific drivers and barriers. (4) How the atmosphere conditions the short-term interorganisational innovation projects; and finally (5) the updated empirical research framework. This research informs managers about potential strategic choices that affect the speed at which innovation(s) in short-term interorganisational innovation projects are delivered. For example, to ensure innovations have momentum from the start, managers must coordinate relevant activities to facilitate early innovation development via institutional mechanisms, including idea generating events; thereby attracting early involvement from the most appropriate people to create effective short-term interorganisational innovation project teams.
Date of Award1 Aug 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJudith Zolkiewski (Supervisor), Christopher Raddats (Supervisor) & Ilma Nur Chowdhury (Supervisor)


  • Innovation process
  • Innovation
  • Management activities
  • Drivers and barriers
  • Short-term interorganisational innovation projects
  • Projects
  • Networks

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