Because of fundamental changes in the competitive environment, the amount of resources and knowledge needed in research and development (R&D) activities has become overwhelming for a single organisation. Moreover, new technologies create lucrative new possibilities for new service development, which are out of reach for a single organisation. Thus, there is a strong need to perform R&D activities in networks. This study increases the understanding of R&D networks by presenting an empirically grounded process model of the formation of such networks. The model has three main elements: the initial conditions, the role of network webber and the sub-processes through which the formation progresses. The process model highlights the importance of the network webber both in triggering the formation process and in managing the process. Moreover, the model suggests a view of the process that is overlapping and iterative, i.e., the sub-processes of enabling the network, acquiring actors, assuring continuity, formal structuring, learning and developing commitment do not follow each other in a certain order.
Network formation, new service development, R&D networks, network management
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