Academic journal article Advances in Management

Different Styles for Different Situations - Case Study of Problems and Prospects of Inter-Institutional Collaboration in an Agricultural Innovation Project

Academic journal article Advances in Management

Different Styles for Different Situations - Case Study of Problems and Prospects of Inter-Institutional Collaboration in an Agricultural Innovation Project

Article excerpt


Scientific collaboration has become inevitable, especially when advanced facilities along with expertise are to be brought into the project for advancing the scope of research and for fostering innovation. Notwithstanding these, scientific collaboration also brings along many challenges and difficulties during different stages of collaboration, viz. foundation stage, formulation stage, sustainment stage and conclusion stage. The success of such collaborative projects largely depends on the skills which the project leader exhibit in different situations. The present paper focuses on problems and prospects of collaboration, brought out through a case study of an inter-institutional, collaborative, agricultural innovation project, aimed at facilitating transition from research to innovation. The major lessons learnt from the success of the project were brought out.

The project leader had to invest a lot of time in people management in addition to the technical component of the project. Mere expertise in science alone does not help the team to attain success. Spending time for sorting out people issues without losing emotional balance plays a crucial role in the successful execution of the project. The constant focus of the project leader on the super-ordinate goal of the project and the flexibility of the project leader to move from one style to another for managing the conflicts that might arise at different points of time play a key role in the success of the project. Based on the experiences gained in the project, a model for phases of inter-institutional collaboration is brought out.

Keywords: Inter-Institutional Collaboration, Science, Innovation Project, Leader, Time.


Research in science is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary and researchers and research managers are relying more and more on multi-institutional collaborations to develop quality research leading to innovation. Scientific collaboration1 has the potential to solve complex scientific problem, help extend the scope of a research project and foster innovation because additional expertise is made available ( view_final_450.1151581102387.pdf;http://netvis.fuqua.du

Collaboration has, thus, become a hallmark of research. Research suggests that task demands, available resources, group interaction, the degree of functional dependence among scientists and the degree of strategic dependence determine how tasks are allocated and shared among scientists in collaboration.10,12 Scientists who collaborate may normally bring additional, individual goals in collaboration/ Notwithstanding these facts, interinstitutional collaborations bring along with it certain difficulties in terms of effective understanding and management of participating institutions under the collaborative model ( /pubs_docs/Corley_Et_Al_2006.pdf).

Collaboration is defined as8 "an active working partnership supported by some kind of institutional commitment" based on formal agreement between two or more organizations. Scientific collaboration is also defined as human behaviour among two or more scientists that facilitates the sharing of meaning and completion of tasks with respect to a mutually-shared superordinate goal and which takes place in social contexts (http://philoscience. physics/Sonnenwald2007/Sonnenwald2007.pdf). Interinstitutional research collaboration is defined as ( _9_6_03_Final.pdf) "cooperative arrangements among the producers of scientific and technical knowledge, research managers, the priority or privileged users of the knowledge and those providing funding and other support for the joint activity". Collaboration is however different from research partnership which is defined as "cooperative arrangements engaging companies, universities and government agencies and laboratories in various combinations to pool resources in pursuit of a shared R and D objective". …

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