Keywords: inter-organisational learning, emerging technologies, R&, D consortia, alliances, organisational learning
Learning in a consortium: a longitudinal case study
Alliances formed to investigate emerging technologies often fall short of participants' expectations. Das and Teng (2000) proposed that successful alliances (such as those undertaken by R&D consortia) hold three 'competing tensions' in balance, with varying emphasis across several stages in the life of an R&D alliance. This paper reports on a longitudinal case study of an initiative conducted by the Financial Services Technology Consortium to develop and test a new payment system, the eCheck. Consistent with the studies of Das and Teng, we found strong evidence of the stages and competing tensions. However, all three tensions were seen across the stages of the eCheck initiative. Based on these findings, we propose that all three competing tensions need to be managed throughout the life of an inter-organisational learning initiative, and that tensions accelerate (and thus need to be managed most carefully) as a project moves closer to commercial implementation.