Challenges of International Technology Collaboration with Russian R&D Organisations
Purpose – This paper aims to examine the challenges experienced by Russian research and development (R&D) organisations in international technology collaboration in the global innovation arena.
Design/methodology/approach – A total of 33 Russian R&D organisations were selected from a sample of 138 potential participating organisations from the Central, Nord-Western and Volga Federal Districts of Russia to take part in a qualitative interview study. Organisations were selected based on their responses to a questionnaire which measured the extent and nature of their experience in international technology collaborations. Participants were interviewed about their experiences of engaging in international technology collaboration under two different modes of collaboration: short term customer-supplier relationships vs longer-term strategic alliances. The semi-structured interviews focused on 15 different issues which had been derived from the previously published literature on international technology collaboration and a thematic analysis was conducted on the resultant data.
Findings – The analysis indicates which of the issues reported as problematic in the literature were pertinent to the Russian organisations in the sample under each mode of collaboration. The findings also provide some evidence that Russian R&D organisations have made progress in the transition from the command to the market economy and are adjusting to the new environment, albeit gradually in some cases.
Research limitations/implications – The paper presents interpretive, qualitative findings, which were analysed from a Russian perspective in three out of seven Federal Districts of Russia. The research sample does not include non-Russian counterparts and the analysis is restricted to those variables which have previously been identified as exerting an influence over international technology collaborations.
Practical implications – The study reveals a broad range of insights into the types of issues which warrant close managerial attention from both Russian managers and their international partners in engaging in international technology collaborations with contemporary Russian R&D organisations.
Originality/value – The research suggests that different sets of challenges emerge for organizations engaged in different modes of international collaboration and provides insight into the unique context of Russia, challenging some of the previously published analyses of the influence of Russian business and managerial practices on the innovativeness of contemporary Russian organisations.