Humanity faces ongoing and contemporaneous grand challenges. Occasionally, abrupt shocks escalate a grand challenge’s salience over others. Prior research has advocated forming partnerships to address grand challenges via responsible innovation. Yet, it remains unclear how temporal changes in the salience of a grand challenge impact innovation performances of partnerships. We address this research gap by bridging the literature on issue salience, responsible innovation and interorganizational relationships. We argue that shocks either aid or harm the performance of partnerships for responsible innovation depending on whether their domains are directly or indirectly affected. The Ebola outbreak in 2014 sets the empirical context to test our theory. We find that while the innovation performance of Ebola partnerships formed after the outbreak rose eleven-fold, the performance of partnerships treating Influenza fell by 84.9 percent. Our theory and findings have immediate implications for today’s COVID-19 outbreak, cautioning against salience shifts among concurrent grand challenges.

Grand challenges, Responsible innovation, Interorganizational relationships, Ebola outbreak,
Journal of Management Studies
Department of Technology and Operations Management

Arslan, B., & Tarakci, M. (2020). Negative Spillovers Across Partnerships for Responsible Innovation: Evidence from the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Journal of Management Studies, Early View. doi:10.1111/joms.12607