Coopetition in temporary contexts: examining swift trust and swift distrust in humanitarian operations
International Journal of Operations & Production Management
Article publication date: 19 June 2020
Issue publication date: 30 November 2020
By drawing on commitment-trust theory, we examine the role of swift trust and distrust in supporting coopetition under conditions of uncertainty and interdependence in the setting of humanitarian disaster relief organisations.
This paper presents findings from case studies of 18 international humanitarian relief organisations based on 48 interviews and the analysis of publicly available documents.
We find that both swift trust and swift distrust support coopetition. As coopetition is simultaneous cooperation and competition, in this study we show how swift trust and swift distrust also occur simultaneously in coopetitive contexts.
Coopetition as a strategic choice is well-researched in the private sector, yet has received less attention in the nonprofit sector, particularly in contexts that are shaped by interdependence and uncertainty. We show the importance of swift trust and swift distrust in coopetitive relationships by drawing on commitment-trust theory.
In focusing on a competitive environment in which cooperation is essential, we find limited choice of coopetitive partners. Humanitarian relief organisations must often simply work with whichever other organisations are available. We highlight how trust and distrust are not opposite ends of a spectrum and detail how both contribute to coopetitive relationships.
Our findings contribute to commitment-trust theory by explaining the important role of distrust in forging coopetitive relationships. Furthermore, we contribute to prior work on coopetition by focusing on an uncertain and interdependent nonprofit environment.
Schiffling, S., Hannibal, C., Fan, Y. and Tickle, M. (2020), "Coopetition in temporary contexts: examining swift trust and swift distrust in humanitarian operations", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 40 No. 9, pp. 1449-1473. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-12-2019-0800
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited