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Inter-organizational relationships: toward a reconceptualization of constructs

Lara Agostini (University of Padova, Legnaro, Italy)
Anna Nosella (Università di Padova, Vicenza, Italy)
Mehari Beyene Teshome (Department of Management and Engineering, Universita degli Studi di Padova, Padua, Italy)

Baltic Journal of Management

ISSN: 1746-5265

Article publication date: 22 March 2019

Issue publication date: 18 June 2019




The purpose of this paper is to provide a reconceptualization of existing constructs within the inter-organizational relationship (IOR) domain to face two main issues: the proliferation of constructs emerged because of a fast-growing body of literature, and the interchangeable and ambiguous use of constructs.


First, the authors surveyed the literature regarding IORs using a structured process supported by the use of bibliometric technique, and then the authors organized an expert panel process that contributes to refine the reconceptualization of the constructs.


The results of the analyses allow a further confirmation of the inconsistency in the definition of IOR constructs and provide a clear reconceptualization of the inter-organizational network and alliance constructs, recognized as the most relevant in this domain.


Being the first attempt to deal with the issue of construct reconceptualization in the IOR domain practically, and considering that clear construct definitions serve as a necessary basis for theory building, this paper has relevant implications for the development of theory related to the different types of IORs.



Agostini, L., Nosella, A. and Teshome, M.B. (2019), "Inter-organizational relationships: toward a reconceptualization of constructs", Baltic Journal of Management, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 346-369.



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