This case study examines the development of a general analytical inductive approach to qualitative research. It assesses the research design and analytical processes for developing a framework for understanding the development of collaborative partnerships between business schools and industry. I adopted an interpretivist approach which is about understanding how people make sense of their world. The outcomes demonstrate how an analytical inductive analysis, involving detailed readings and interpretations of raw data, can be used to identify concepts, themes, and models. I gathered data from both a university business school and firms; I transcribed and analysed 24 interviews, and produced a list of common features and accommodated deviant features either by linking them with other common features or by generating a new category. Eventually, I performed cross-case analysis within and between the groups at the business school and firms. The themes that emerged formed the basis of proposed models for initiating collaboration and initiating trust. Through practical application of the research design, data collection and analytical approach, this case study demonstrates the credibility of a general analytical inductive research strategy based on a qualitative research methodology. The benefits include facilitating the development of effective business relationships between universities and domestic firms.