Leading innovation using social capital in public-private partnerships
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Subjectboundary spanning; critical realism; innovation; public-private partnerships; social capital
This synthesis paper introduces a conceptual model which explains how boundary spanning practices use relational, cognitive and structural social capital to facilitate innovation in public-private partnerships (PPPs). Social capital is a multidimensional concept used by scholars from different disciplines to demonstrate the benefits of accessing resources through relationships in social networks. Past research has shown that social capital can accelerate positive innovation outcomes for organizations facing complex challenges, including PPPs that seek to share costs, resources and risks across sectors to develop and sustain competitive advantage. In practice, many PPPs fail to achieve anticipated innovation outcomes, due in part to a breakdown of social relations between partners. The conceptual model is described and illustrated across three components of the dissertation by portfolio: Journal article, online course/learning module and instructional video. Based on results of a qualitative research study that investigated critical incidents on innovation projects in PPPs from the perspectives of public and private sector innovators, the model identifies practices that help leaders across sectors find ways to collaborate more effectively to manage innovation. Three modes of inference were used to analyse interview data, which referenced different industries and types of innovation, producing a holistic understanding of the interaction of social capital and innovation in PPPs. A critical realist, interdisciplinary approach combined theory and empirical data to identify generative mechanisms of innovation outcomes on PPP projects. A knowledge dissemination section describes how the research findings are being made accessible to meet the needs of practitioners as well as academic researchers.
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