In this research I systematically identify and analyze choices of organization design configurations that enable inter-firm collaboration to engage in the process of practice innovation. Practice innovation is understood as the outcome of inter-acting firms and theorized to be a complex, multifaceted process of interrelated factors. Rather than examining net-effects of individual determinants of practice innovation, I acknowledge the complexity of this innovation process theoretically as well as methodologically by applying a configurational method, namely Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). Using a dataset of 105 new practices developed in China's biopharmaceutical industry in 2008, the results challenge existing theoretical understandings and analytical approaches to examining innovation phenomena twofold. First, there is not one way that leads to practice innovation. Instead, a diversity of configurations of actor-based features, governance mechanisms, and environmental influences has been identified that allows firms to devise new practices. Second, all conditions show asymmetric effects on the process questioning conventional variance based approaches to analyzing sets of empirical data.

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Keywords Empirical study, Inter-firm collaboration, Practive innovation
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Conference 70th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - Dare to Care: Passion and Compassion in Management Practice and Research, AOM 2010
Meuer, J. (2010). Organizational design choices enabling practice innovation evidence from China's biopharma industry. In Academy of Management 2010 Annual Meeting - Dare to Care: Passion and Compassion in Management Practice and Research, AOM 2010. doi:10.5465/ambpp.2010.54485053