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Inter-organisational cooperation in the context of health units: a mixed-method approach

Mário Franco (Department of Management and Economics, CEFAGE-UBI Research Center, Universidade da Beira Interior, Covilha, Portugal)
Carlos Mineiro (Department of Management and Economics, Universidade da Beira Interior, Covilha, Portugal)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 28 February 2023

Issue publication date: 2 May 2024




This study focuses on the reasons leading health organisations to adopt a cooperation strategy and the benefits they can draw from that inter-organisational relation.


To this end, a mixed research approach – qualitative and quantitative – was adopted, taking a real case between a Health Centre Group in inland Portugal (ACeS-CB) and the Faculty of Health Sciences at a university situated in the same region (FCS-UBI). To gather information, a questionnaire survey was directed to medical students in this faculty, together with semi-structured interviews with those in charge of both types of organisation in the inter-organisational cooperation studied here.


After content analysis of the interviews and descriptive analysis of the questionnaires, it was concluded that this cooperation is based on a relation of a formal nature, as each organisation is independent from the other, as are their administrative and management organs. The benefits obtained from this cooperative relation regard mainly the share of human resources, particularly elements of the clinical staff in ACeS-CB who have taken on teaching duties at FCS-UBI.

Practical implications

Articulation of theoretical training with clinical practice and the exchange of knowledge were other benefits identified. The study also reveals that students perceive this inter-organisational cooperation as satisfactory, corresponding to what was defined by those in charge of the institutions as its main objectives.


This study focuses on the reasons leading health organisations to adopt a strategy of cooperation with other organisations in the same sector and the benefits they can obtain from that relation. It represents a tool to support managers in health organisations and other stakeholders in an inter-organisational cooperation relation, in planning strategies and understanding the impact of this type of cooperation.



The authors are grateful to the anonymous referees of the journal for their extremely useful suggestions to improve the quality of the paper. The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from National Funds of the FCT – Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology within the project «UIDB/04007/2020».


Franco, M. and Mineiro, C. (2024), "Inter-organisational cooperation in the context of health units: a mixed-method approach", Kybernetes, Vol. 53 No. 6, pp. 1987-2006.



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