Accompanying the global redistribution of commodity production to low wage countries, comes the need for companies to enhance innovation in order to remain competitive. Therefore, in order to better understand the barriers to leveraging research universities for revitalizing legacy industrial regions, field interviews were conducted with researchers at a Midwestern public university and its industry partners. The goal was to identify and better understand knowledge exchange barriers and facilitators. The constructs from Social Exchange Theory (reciprocity, cohesion, balance and power) guided the investigation of issues surrounding workplace collaboration and knowledge sharing across these organizations. The results of this investigation show that an important factor for productive exchange relationships is both maintenance and the awareness of mutual and balanced dependency (i.e. cohesion) between exchange partners. This can be facilitated by maintaining open communication channels that reinforce a perception of reciprocity and minimize perceptions of power and dominance among exchange partners.