“Corporate-Startup Partnering: Exploring Attention Dynamics in Asymmetric Settings”
(Professor, York University)
Startups concurrently partnering with large corporations compete for the latter’s attention. We extend the attention-based view from an intraorganizational to an interorganizational context by exploring how startups differ in attention received from the corporation, their actions to attract and sustain such attention, and the impact of attention dynamics on the partnership outcomes. Our research uncovers two discontinuous contests for attention involving corporate and divisional managers, highlighting the import of the distributed nature of attention. Reflecting this, our case findings reveal how startups’ appreciation of and responsiveness to the different cognitive schema and corresponding stimuli of corporate and divisional managers was critical to understanding the distinct attention trajectories and disparate outcomes. Our focus on attention complements the dominant focus on trust in research on relational dynamics.