Research Article

Collaboration, competition and innovation: a consortium of tribology in the automotive sector

Ana Paula Lopes; André Ferrarese; Marly Monteiro de Carvalho

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Abstract: Paper aims: The collaboration among competitors represents a substantial challenge for most innovation processes of companies. This research aims to explore the factors influencing collaboration for innovation that involves competitors in the Fuzzy Front End phase.

Originality: This study provides an important advance in three aspects. First, it brings outstanding contributions to the process of generation of ideas and knowledge in a context that involves collaboration and competition simultaneously. In addition, the research examines how this has evolved over time, which were the main difficulties, which were the most significant barriers and necessary efforts to mitigate them. Another important contribution was learning generated on how to work ideas and opportunities in the Fuzzy Front End phase of innovation. Finally, it contributes to the identification of the main roles of Universities in this context.

Research method: The findings from a detailed case study on a Brazilian University-industry consortium in the automotive sector are presented.

Main findings: The results indicate a concentration of companies in three main groups with very different operations: the group related to the ring and cylinder lubrificantion system, the automakers and Universities.

Implications for theory and practice: The main practical and theoretical contributions of this research is exactly the pioneering nature with regard to automakers working collaboratively.


Innovation management, Competition, Collaborative work


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