Fast Success and Slow Failure: An Examination of the Costs of Collaboration across Formal Boundaries

Louise Mors, David Waguespack

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Collaborating across formal boundaries is beneficial for performance outcomes like innovation. Yet it also costly as it requires actors to overcome spatial distance and enter new knowledge domains. The question then arises as to whether the benefits outweigh costs? We seek to answer this question by examining 5079 collaborations in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Our findings suggest that crossing formal boundaries is positively related to success of the collaboration, as well as efficiency of the project. Yet there are high costs associated with cross boundary collaborations for unsuccessful projects, as these take longer to fail, and therefore hold up resources that could be reallocated to other projects. We simulate the costs for these projects and show that even with a boost in success, the costs are higher than the expected benefits, suggesting that firms may be better off investing in non-diverse projects. This finding has important implications for how we think about organization design and the expected benefits of seeking novelty.
    Collaborating across formal boundaries is beneficial for performance outcomes like innovation. Yet it also costly as it requires actors to overcome spatial distance and enter new knowledge domains. The question then arises as to whether the benefits outweigh costs? We seek to answer this question by examining 5079 collaborations in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Our findings suggest that crossing formal boundaries is positively related to success of the collaboration, as well as efficiency of the project. Yet there are high costs associated with cross boundary collaborations for unsuccessful projects, as these take longer to fail, and therefore hold up resources that could be reallocated to other projects. We simulate the costs for these projects and show that even with a boost in success, the costs are higher than the expected benefits, suggesting that firms may be better off investing in non-diverse projects. This finding has important implications for how we think about organization design and the expected benefits of seeking novelty.

    Conference

    ConferenceThe DRUID 20th Anniversary Conference 2016
    Number38
    LocationCopenhagen Business School
    CountryDenmark
    CityKøbenhavn
    Period13/06/201615/06/2016
    OtherThe DRUID Society Conference 2016
    SponsorCopenhagen Business School
    Internet address

    Keywords

    • Collaboration
    • Innovation
    • Formal boundaries
    • Informal networks
    • Online communities
    • Internet engineering task force

    Cite this

    Mors, L., & Waguespack, D. (2016). Fast Success and Slow Failure: An Examination of the Costs of Collaboration across Formal Boundaries. Paper presented at The DRUID 20th Anniversary Conference 2016, København, Denmark.
    Mors, Louise ; Waguespack, David . / Fast Success and Slow Failure : An Examination of the Costs of Collaboration across Formal Boundaries. Paper presented at The DRUID 20th Anniversary Conference 2016, København, Denmark.21 p.
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    Mors, L & Waguespack, D 2016, 'Fast Success and Slow Failure: An Examination of the Costs of Collaboration across Formal Boundaries' Paper presented at, København, Denmark, 13/06/2016 - 15/06/2016, .

    Fast Success and Slow Failure : An Examination of the Costs of Collaboration across Formal Boundaries. / Mors, Louise; Waguespack, David .

    2016. Paper presented at The DRUID 20th Anniversary Conference 2016, København, Denmark.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

    TY - CONF

    T1 - Fast Success and Slow Failure

    T2 - An Examination of the Costs of Collaboration across Formal Boundaries

    AU - Mors,Louise

    AU - Waguespack,David

    PY - 2016

    Y1 - 2016

    N2 - Collaborating across formal boundaries is beneficial for performance outcomes like innovation. Yet it also costly as it requires actors to overcome spatial distance and enter new knowledge domains. The question then arises as to whether the benefits outweigh costs? We seek to answer this question by examining 5079 collaborations in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Our findings suggest that crossing formal boundaries is positively related to success of the collaboration, as well as efficiency of the project. Yet there are high costs associated with cross boundary collaborations for unsuccessful projects, as these take longer to fail, and therefore hold up resources that could be reallocated to other projects. We simulate the costs for these projects and show that even with a boost in success, the costs are higher than the expected benefits, suggesting that firms may be better off investing in non-diverse projects. This finding has important implications for how we think about organization design and the expected benefits of seeking novelty.

    AB - Collaborating across formal boundaries is beneficial for performance outcomes like innovation. Yet it also costly as it requires actors to overcome spatial distance and enter new knowledge domains. The question then arises as to whether the benefits outweigh costs? We seek to answer this question by examining 5079 collaborations in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Our findings suggest that crossing formal boundaries is positively related to success of the collaboration, as well as efficiency of the project. Yet there are high costs associated with cross boundary collaborations for unsuccessful projects, as these take longer to fail, and therefore hold up resources that could be reallocated to other projects. We simulate the costs for these projects and show that even with a boost in success, the costs are higher than the expected benefits, suggesting that firms may be better off investing in non-diverse projects. This finding has important implications for how we think about organization design and the expected benefits of seeking novelty.

    KW - Collaboration

    KW - Innovation

    KW - Formal boundaries

    KW - Informal networks

    KW - Online communities

    KW - Internet engineering task force

    KW - Collaboration

    KW - Innovation

    KW - Formal boundaries

    KW - Informal networks

    KW - Online communities

    KW - Internet engineering task force

    M3 - Paper

    ER -

    Mors L, Waguespack D. Fast Success and Slow Failure: An Examination of the Costs of Collaboration across Formal Boundaries. 2016. Paper presented at The DRUID 20th Anniversary Conference 2016, København, Denmark.