M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentGvirtz Elad
SubjectCollaboration among Competitors and the Innovation
Challenges of SMEs
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor PROFESSOR EMERITUS Miriam Erez
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


The impact of cooperation with competitors (Coopetition) on innovation is not clear-cut. On the one hand, coopetition can increase the resources and opportunities of organizations. On the other hand, competitors can take advantage of the intellectual property to which they are exposed. The analysis contributes to the emergent line of research regarding coopetition asa modern strategy to the success of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), and responds to the theoretical call to examine and understand the dynamics of coopetition, personal factors, environmental influences and innovative challenges.

Recently scholars have acknowledged the positive effect of pro-social motivation and perspective taking oncreativity and innovation processes. Still, only little is known about the circumstances that enable their contribution. Moreover, previous empirical research has occurredmainly in lab settings, testing for the effect of coopetition on individuals'negotiation and performance, but there are hardly any empirical field studies to examine the effect of the motivational characteristics of the leader on coopetition.

The current study aims at examining the effect of personal characteristicsof the leader on coopetitionand its consequent level of innovation in the dynamic business environment of SMEs. We suggest that other-oriented characteristics affect the likelihood to cooperate with competitors and that coopetition enhances innovation. We test for the effect of coopetition on innovationby taking into consideration the moderating effect of environmental uncertainty.

One-hundred twenty sevenCEOsfrom the North part of Israel participated in the survey. We administered electronic survey questionnaires, and in a few cases also paper and pencil questionnaire. We assessed the CEOs’ vision, social orientation, perspective taking and intrinsic motivation. The results showed thatCEOsperspective taking was positively related to coopetition and that the perspective taking under uncertainty environment and the tendency to coopetition were related to innovation.Furthermore, In high dynamic environmentsthe tendency to cooperate with competitors served as a substitute to clear vision in influencing innovation.

The results have interesting implications for theory and research on the personal, organizational and environmental influences oncoopetitionand on innovation in organizations.