Organization for Innovation: Managing Differences Between Assemblages Productively

Mathias T. Hansen, Nikolai S. Janssen, Claus Varnes

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This study poses the question of how startup companies and corporates can collaborate while utilizing the full potential of their organizational differences. The inquiry inhabits the epistemic orientation of New Materialism based on the works of Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari as well as Manuel DeLanda. Through this epistemic point of depature, organizations are social assemblages of machinic parts in consistent interaction with each other. This study is based on empirical data produced from three distinct collaborations between mature companies and startups. With organizational structures enabling fast decision making experimentation, startups' primary driving directives are expansion and growth. They can test new ideas in the high speed. In contrast, corporates are large and complex social assemblages. They utilize rigid with bureaucratic authority structures to remain complaint with legal jurisdictions, in accordance with established IT infrastructure, and to minimize risk. The relationship between the two organizational structures of startups and corporates is one of difference. Each organization has something that the other wants: capital, knowledge and ressources or innovation and speed of execution. These differences must be sustained without one organisation 'overcoding' the other. Abductively and based on the Gioia-methodology, the Assemblage Connector Mapping (ACM) Model is synthesized to encompass the designed space of resource and knowledge flows exchanged in asymmetric collaborations. Through the use of the ACM model, the study suggests that startup/corporate collaborations should establish mediating interfaces that enhance the innovation potential of such collaborations while maintaining the productive difference in each party.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventThe 27th Innovation and Product Development Management Conference. IPDMC 2020 - Virtual Conference
Duration: 7 Jun 20209 Jun 2020
Conference number: 27


ConferenceThe 27th Innovation and Product Development Management Conference. IPDMC 2020
LocationVirtual Conference
Internet address


  • Open innovation
  • Assemblage Theory
  • Corporate ventures
  • Asymmetrical partnerships
  • Deleuze
  • DeLanda
  • Agile
  • Bureaucracy
  • Collaboration

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