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Self-Interest Assumption and Relational Trust in University-Industry Knowledge Transfers

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2 Author(s)
M. D. Santoro ; Coll. of Bus. & Econ., Lehigh Univ., Bethlehem, PA ; P. A. Saparito

Since knowledge is a critical resource for ensuring firm growth and survival, firms are increasingly going outside their boundaries and collaborating with other organizations to obtain new knowledge. This study focuses on two distinct self-enforcing safeguards important for interorganizational knowledge transfer. Using survey questionnaire data from senior executives in 180 small to large-sized industrial firms working with university research centers, we focus on the self-enforcing safeguards of self-interest assumption and relational trust and examine the role of each in university-industry knowledge transfer. Results from multiple linear regression show both self-interest assumption and relational trust are positively associated with greater knowledge transfer, however, relational trust is more strongly associated to knowledge transfer than self-interest assumption. We also found that as knowledge becomes more tacit, self-interest assumption becomes negatively associated with knowledge transfer while relational trust becomes more strongly positive. We conclude by discussing implications for future research and management practice

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management  (Volume:53 ,  Issue: 3 )