European Journal of Innovation Management, 14 (4), 521–548
Purpose – This paper aims to advance the paradox management perspective by applying it to open innovation networks in Finland and argues that paradox management is an important explicit logic to consider in the management of open innovation. Design/methodology approach – Interviews sought the views of diverse network participants, including companies, universities, and government agencies. Findings – The open innovation networks exhibited many of the same tensions discussed in innovation initiatives within organizations, but additional complexities arose from both internal and external factors. Research limitations/implications – The study examined open innovation networks when the collaboration in the networks was still in early phases. Thus, the study does not capture the paradoxes, underlying tensions, and management approaches as they change in later phases. Practical implications – The open innovation networks require the ability to excel in managing a set of paradoxical tensions using a complex repertoire of approaches. Open innovation can be seen as an important way to create dynamicity and change, and if managers are able to manage tensions using a complex set of behavioral approaches, they can more likely achieve increased innovation. Originality/value – The open innovation literature recognizes paradoxes but does not address their management directly. This paper deepens the understanding of paradoxical tensions and their management across open innovation networks that take the form of public-private partnerships.