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More than a handshake – knowledge transfer in structured corporate–startup collaboration programs

Möllmann, Juliane (2022)​

Journal of Knowledge Management, in print,


This paper aims to review the existing literature on structured corporate–startup collaboration programs (SCSCPs) concerning their objectives and organizational design components. The design components of the program execution are analyzed on how they impact knowledge transfer and how the extant literature on SCSCP considers the knowledge management topic. A new perspective to examine its ramifications will be discussed.


Through an integrative literature review, 103 papers on the topic of SCSCP are analyzed about references of objectives and design components of the programs.


The literature shows a strong focus on strategic objectives corporations pursue in implementing an SCSCP. The design components can be divided into governance mode, structural decisions, selection of ventures, program execution and follow up.

Research limitations/implications

The literature review shows a lack of insights into the knowledge transfer process between the corporation and the ventures. Therefore, this study suggests a practice-based, longitudinal perspective on the interaction processes that occur during the program execution of an SCSCP.


Compared to existing literature reviews, the study takes the corporation’s perspective on incubation and acceleration and reveals design components specific to the corporate forms. Furthermore, SCSCPs center around strategic value generation and the design of the programs can vary highly. It is proposed that knowledge transfer is the central aspect of corporate programs and that a practice-based perspective would enrich the research on knowledge transfer in highly complex setups like this.

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