Inter-organisational projects in French innovation clusters : The construction of collaboration

in International Journal of Project Management, 30 (1)

ISSN : 0263-7863

CALAMEL, Ludivine ; Defélix, Christian ; Picq, Thierry (1963-....) ; Retour, Didier

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Having received considerable attention from central government and local authorities, French innovation clusters (the so-called ‘pôles de compétitivité’) are beginning to be studied by academic researchers and evaluated by consultants. The core of their activity consists of collaborative projects, which are characterised by specific management and Human Resources practices located at the junction of different cultures and employment statuses. Almost four years after they were launched, what can ... we say about the dynamic of these collaborative projects? What is the reality of such collaboration when it involves multiple partnerships bringing together employees from different occupational cultures and Human Resources Management systems? The aim of this longitudinal research, which is based on the observation of two collaborative projects in one of the most largest clusters in France, is to discuss management and HR issues in such a setting. A literature review highlights the need to open up the ‘black box’ of collaboration within projects and encourages examination of both manager's coordination efforts and the actors' motivation to cooperate, as well as the role played by HRM practices. Thus observation of the conduct of the projects over two years reveals that collaboration, far from being a given within these projects, is the product of a process of social construction that might be fostered by better managerial support.

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