On-Line Survey

Information for survey participants

Some firms are better than others in capturing value from open innovation due to their ability to acquire, transform and exploit new knowledge for commercial purposes – an ability known as absorptive capacity. The social mechanisms through which firms acquire and use external knowledge to innovate remain largely under-investigated. Past research indicates that the manner in which people collaborate depends in part on:

  • People’s individual characteristics, such as their personality or the attitudes they hold
  • The nature of existing interpersonal relations
  • Organisational factors such as management structures, operating procedures, and culture.

The CSIRO is examining social mechanisms that underpin collaborative innovation as part of a much broader study on industrial transformation in the agriculture, fishing and food-processing industry managed by the University of Tasmania. This study also forms part of a PhD by Mr Andrew Terhorst, who is supervised by Dr Dean Lusher at Swinburne University of Technology.


Data for this study will be collected through an on-line survey targeting everyone in the collaboration and through semi-structured interviews with selected individuals from each collaborating organisation. Should you decide to volunteer as a participant in this study, you will be asked to complete an on-line survey questionnaire, which will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. This survey will ask questions about yourself and you will be asked to nominate people in your current collaboration you regularly receive work-related knowledge from, who help you be creative and innovative, and whom you trust. Information from the survey will help the CSIRO better understand the social relationships that underpin innovation.

You may be contacted after the survey to participate in a one-on-one interview to explore factors that shape an organisation’s ability to recognise the value of external knowledge, assimilate it, and then successfully apply it to commercial ends. The duration of the interview will be approximately 60 minutes.

Privacy and confidentiality

To protect your privacy and keep your answers confidential, your name as well as the names of others you nominate will be de-identified. Only researchers involved in this study will have access to the on-line survey and interview data. When the results of the research are published or discussed at scientific conferences, no information will be included that might reveal your identity, where you work, who you associate with, and specific details about the innovation activity you are involved in. All data will be stored in a restricted and secure part of the CSIRO data repository and destroyed after five years.

Potential risks and discomforts

Participation in the on-line survey and subsequent interviews should not present any risks or discomforts. However, should you have any questions or concerns during the study or wish to withdraw from the project, please contact Mr Andrew Terhorst, the CSIRO project leader responsible for this study via email (andrew.terhorst@csiro.au) or mobile telephone (0400 869 594).

How the information being collected will be used

Information gathered through this study will be used to explain how individual attributes, pre-existing social relations, and organisational factors may influence knowledge sharing/creation in innovative collaborations in the agriculture, fishing and food-processing industry. Results from the study will also be used in a PhD thesis and published in summary form in management journals and conference proceedings.

Anticipated benefits to subjects and society

Although you may receive no direct benefit from this research, information derived from this study may help researchers more fully understand the social mechanisms of collaborative innovation, which may have implications for how collaborative innovation initiatives are organised and managed in the future.

Participation and withdrawal

Participation in this study is completely voluntary and you are free to withdraw from this study at any time without prejudice or penalty. If you do withdraw from the study, the survey information that you have provided up to that point will be deleted if requested and will not be included in the study unless you give us permission to use that information.

Ethical clearance and contacts

This study has been cleared by the CSIRO Social Science Human Research Ethics Committee in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007). Any concerns or complaints about the study can be raised with either Mr Andrew Terhorst or with CSIRO’s Social Science Human Research Ethics Committee via email (csshrec@csiro.au) or by contacting the Manager of Social Responsibility and Ethics on (07) 3833 5693.