Relevant factors influencing cognitive distance in the performance of collaborative research projects
Área Ciencias Sociales
Case study
Action research
Mixed methods
Narrative analysis
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Creative Commons Non Commercial CC BY-NC: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License
Rodríguez-Ferradas, M. (María Isabel); Sanjurjo-San Martín, E. (Elena Luisa); Alfaro-Tanco, J. (José Antonio). "Relevant Factors Influencing Cognitive Distance in the Performance of Collaborative Research Projects". International Journal of Qualitative Methods. 22, 2023, 16094069231174800
The research scope of this paper is to reinforce the need to strengthen university-firm relationship. We consider that it is crucial that the interactions between researcher/university and managers/firms should be based on a win-win relationship. In this sense, it is relevant to determine the main drivers behind the success of collaborative research projects, and this study focuses on one of them: cognitive distance. The specific objective of this study is to analyze the main factors that determine the influence of cognitive distance in the individual relationship between researchers and practitioners in collaborative research projects. In the first stage, through a literature review of cognitive distance and collaborative research projects, we identified a list of seven factors that influence cognitive distance and the issues that may provoke in the empirical context. Second, we carried out an empirical study based on semi-structured interviews with coordinators of collaborative research projects managed by the Chair of Business Volkswagen Navarra - University of Navarra. This permitted us to build guidelines that show the main practical concerns associated with each factor and how they were managed in the analyzed projects. This enriches the cognitive distance literature on individual interactions between researchers and practitioners. We highlight the relevance of previous experience of both agents, the exploitation of projects versus exploratory ones, and the determinant role of support infrastructures to minimize the negative effect of high cognitive distance. Nowadays, there is a trend to develop collaborative research projects with firms, not only agreement collaborations. Therefore, our findings could be useful for analyzing the relationships between researchers and practitioners in action research studies developed inside a doctoral thesis or competitive research project. By considering the effect of cognitive distance when selecting collaborative research projects, it will help to increase the degree of success of these projects.

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