Open innovation in the Agrifood industry

S.W.F. Omta, F.T.J.M. Fortuin, N.C. Dijkman

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The present paper aims to extend the discussion in the governance literature whether structural and relational governance mechanisms complement or substitute each other in R&D alliances. Where structural governance mechanisms refer to the division of tasks within the alliance and to upfront contractual and non-contractual input, output and risk related agreements, relational governance mechanisms refer to trust, using informal norms and rules for coordination purposes. In innovation literature much attention has been spend on relational governance, which is expected to offer more flexibility needed for innovation than the as rigid perceived regulations in structural governance. However, the authors argue that the essential role of structural governance as a solid basis for creating trust, especially in alliances in which the partners do not know each other, is clearly underexposed in management literature. To fill up this gap, a model conceptualizing the R&D alliance from inception to performance was tested using Partial Least Squares, employing a cross-sectional dataset of 94 R&D alliances in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The results indeed show the essential role of structural agreements to create a platform for trust on which relational governance can strive, while a clear task division can help to reduce the complexity of the inter-organizational innovation process, by reducing the interdependency of the partners. Both structural mechanisms ease the communication among the alliance partners, leading to a higher level of knowledge exchange, and ultimately leading to better alliance performance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventSustainability and Innovation in Chains and Networks, Capri, Italy -
Duration: 4 Jun 20146 Jun 2014


ConferenceSustainability and Innovation in Chains and Networks, Capri, Italy


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