| Salvatore Zappala
- Associate Professor
- School of Psychology
- University of Bologna
Dr. Zappala is an Associate Professor in Work and Organizational Psychology at the Faculty of Bologna. His research focuses on organizational decision making and change. He also examined psycho-social and organizational determinants of adoption and usage of e-commerce, and more widely of new technologies and innovations in small and medium enterprises. He is in the staff of coordinators of the Erasmus Mundus Master “Work, Organization and Personnel Psychology”. This is an a cooperation and mobility program in the field of higher education promoted by the European Union and offered by a consortium of five European Universities. He is one of the editors of Impact of e-Commerce on Consumers and Firms (London, Ashgate, 2006) which has a strong and wide-ranging European perspective on advantages and risks of ICT. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Bologna and a Degree in Psychology from the University of Rome (La Sapienza). Before entering the Ph.D. program he worked for two years in a company involved in training for social service employees focusing on organizational networks.
Collaboration and Trust in Networked Organizations:
Universities as Partner and Catalyst of Collaboration among Companies
In US, Europe and Japan there has been a proliferation of inter/national forms of cooperation among organizations, resulting in strategic alliances, partnership or cooperation (Van Gils, 1998). These collaborative inter-organizational forms are often considered as a way to cope with the increasing competitive market dynamics (European Commission, 2005), improve firm performance (Powell et al., 1999), promote organizational learning (Knight, 2002; Powell et al., 1996), and produce innovations (Meeus & Faber, 2006; Pittaway et al., 2004).
European Universities are called to intensify their cooperation with industry both at national and regional level, as well as to direct such cooperation towards innovation, new companies’ start-up and also transfer and dissemination of knowledge (European Commission, 2003). Inter-organizational networks (ION) can be of some interest also for Universities; in fact networks can be a faster way to spread innovation and promote organizational learning, especially when small and medium enterprises are involved. This implies that Universities may promote regional innovation by facilitating networks set up and development. Universities may take on a more active role as a partner of a network or as a third party stimulating networks start-up. Thus, it is extremely relevant to know pre-conditions of successful networks, and also managerial procedures to solve trust and collaboration problems among partners and representatives of different organizations.
The proposed project aims to investigate if expectations about other partners’ contribution, structural properties of the network, trust and interpersonal relations, influence procedures and outcomes in collaboration programs (networked organizations) in which Universities are involved.
In particular, important networked projects in which, some American and Italian Universities are involved, will be examined. In addition, inter-organizational networks involving private companies will be examined, to investigate differences and similarities in networks with different aims and composition.
A model to encourage Universities to connect various organizations (companies, associations, or institutions), by starting and nurturing networks, to innovate and disseminate knowledge through networks will be outlined.