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Unravelling the process from Closed to Open Innovation: evidence from mature, asset-intensive industries

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Open Innovation has been one of the most-debated topics in management research in the last decade. Although our understanding of this management paradigm has significantly improved over the last few years, a number of important questions are still unanswered. In particular, an issue that deserves further attention is the anatomy of the organizational change process through which a firm evolves from being a Closed to an Open Innovator. The paper represents a first step in overcoming this limitation. In particular, adopting a longitudinal, firm-level perspective, it addresses the following question: which changes in a firm's organizational structures and management systems does the shift from Closed to Open Innovation entail? In answering this question, the paper uses established concepts in organizational change research to look into a rich empirical basis that documents the adoption of Open Innovation by four Italian firms operating in mature, asset-intensive industries. The results show that the journey from Closed to Open Innovation involves four main dimensions of the firm's organization, i.e. inter-organizational networks, organizational structures, evaluation processes and knowledge management systems, along which change could be managed and stimulated.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Politecnico di Milano, Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Piazza L. da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano, Italy. ;;, Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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