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    Overcoming absorptive capacity barriers: the role of innovation intermediaries as enablers and beneficiaries of funded collaboration projects in the digital sector

    Giehrl, Maximilian (2023) Overcoming absorptive capacity barriers: the role of innovation intermediaries as enablers and beneficiaries of funded collaboration projects in the digital sector. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Background & Research Purpose: As innovation drivers and policy instruments, innovation intermediaries have an essential role in digitalisation. While the specific literature has a strong organisational focus, this thesis aims to explore their role within funded collaboration projects in digitalisation following a context-driven perspective. A focus on absorptive capacities extends the understanding by including a second, knowledge-transfer-related perspective. To gain a holistic understanding, it stresses the little noticed benefits for intermediaries. Methodology: To enable a contextual-driven analysis, the methodology consists of a comparative case study analysing project-based cases. The analysis of five funded collaboration projects enabled a practice oriented investigation, founded on 27 interviews with intermediaries from five European countries and their clients. The obtained data was analysed through the developed absorptive capacity framework. The thematic and the project context built the two comparative key dimensions of this thesis. Results: It became evident that intermediaries act at the very points where their clients lack absorptive capacities. Through the identification of absorptive capacity barriers, it was possible to outline obstacles their clients face during the projects. To solve them, intermediaries provide specific interactions. These can be assigned to five absorptive capacity components aligned with the outlined barriers. By considering the intermediaries perspective their occurring financial and non-financial benefits became apparent. Contributions: The critical role of intermediaries in funded projects by far exceeds a mere mediating, supportive function. This thesis revealed the benefits but also the dependence of intermediaries on these projects. It was possible to outline requirements for their role in digitalisation and the powerful influence of the project context. This importance of contextual factors indicates the limitations of overarching approaches regarding the role of intermediaries. This thesis further demonstrated the substantial value of intermediaries to potential clients.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2023 11:15
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 16:18


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