Harland, P. E., & Nienaber, A. M. (2014). Solving the matchmaking dilemma between companies and external idea contributors. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 26(6), 639-653.


Most of the innovation management literature refers to the benefits of external knowledge. It follows then that companies invest a great deal of effort and resources in developing instruments to motivate people to submit ideas; however, external contributors are often not willing to submit their ideas because they are afraid that they will not be compensated for them afterwards. Thus, the question arises as to how companies can profit from the good ideas of external contributors without being accused of intellectual property theft in cases where it already knows about the ideas being presented. For this paper we have taken the findings from trust research into account and discuss several practical methods for overcoming the obstacles that arise when both companies and idea contributors want to profit from ideas. Finally, we develop a trust-based intermediary model for knowledge transfer in the innovation management field.

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Prof. Dr. Ann-Marie Nienaber
Professor in Human Resource Management and Organisational Behavior

Head of Research Group: Trust and Workplaces

Coventry University, United Kingdom
(Modern University of the Year 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations