Exploring the Role of Open Innovation in Corporate Organizations

Daniela Turcan & Karoline Feden Aass

Student thesis: Master thesis


Innovation is increasingly gaining traction as a way for the corporate company to stay competitive in a dynamic and unpredictable market. The changing landscape of knowledge forces corporate organizations to search outside the boundary of the firm, thus taking a participatory approach and engaging with external stakeholders through open innovation. This is also reflected in the growing body of academia on the subject. This thesis focuses on the way corporations innovate and engage in inter-collaborative activities with stakeholders. An insider view is undertaken to research how both innovation within and outside the boundary of the firm is practised. The thesis presents the way stakeholders are chosen, as well as how collaborations are established and nurtured. By focusing on these aspects, we will investigate whether it affects the innovation performance of the corporation. For the purposes of this thesis, empirical qualitative data was obtained through an in-depth analysis of two of the largest corporations in Denmark, operating in different industries. Lengthy interviews were conducted with the respective top managers, supplemented with observations made at the premises of the two organizations, as well as other secondary sources. In addition, accounts of external stakeholders who took part in the open innovation process were also investigated. The phenomenon of interest was studied as a case study, which provided contextual insight into attitudes and behaviour. The findings reflect that a corporate organization needs to leverage upon both internal and external stakeholders to enhance the innovative performance. Moreover, a corporation can’t obtain knowledge from outside the boundary of the firm until there is an organizational openness to change. The research also reflects that the cognitive distance between the corporate company and its respective stakeholders can either hinder or enhance their ability to collaborate. Open innovation endeavours can be the solution to improve corporate innovation if the prerequisites of it are taken into account. Consequently, this thesis proposes a model displaying the means through which a corporate company can enhance its innovative performance, whilst engaging with external stakeholders.

EducationsMSocSc in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages123
SupervisorsClaus Varnes