Proximity and organizational factors for startup – large firm collaboration in an open innovation context

By Clarice Bertin

The objective of this article is to identify the organizational factors that foster proximity between startups and large firms, as asymmetric partners, in order to understand the elements underlying their capability to collaborate, which is essential within a context of open innovation. The proximity theory approach makes it possible to analyze a given collaboration in a holistic way, over time and in geographical and non-geographical spaces. Based on four collaboration cases, this exploratory research adopts the perspective of startups, which is almost non-existent in the literature. The results show the differences that create cognitive distance between startups and large firms and highlight four levels of factors that contribute to their proximity: internal to the startup, internal to the large firm, inter-organizational and ecosystemic. This research is of interest to businesses wishing to collaborate with asymmetric partners in a context of open innovation. It is also intended for regional innovation policies that aim to support innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems. JEL Codes: L20, L26, O31, O32

  • Capability to Collaborate
  • Proximity Theory
  • Asymmetry
  • Organizational Factors
  • Startup
  • Large Enterprise
  • Open Innovation
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