Until relatively recently the majority of studies of organisations from a variety of different academic disciplines viewed the organisation as an isolated individual unit and took little account of its interaction with the “rest of the world”. More recently, interest in understanding how organisations interact with their environment has increased and a realisation has grown that the boundary between an organisation and its environment is often very difficult to define, even to the extent that there is “a doubt concerning the relevance of the organisation as an analytical unit” [19, p. 11]. This paper describes one form of inter‐organisational relationship which appears to be growing in importance and which shows that legally defined organisational boundaries do not always bear much relation to the existing boundaries.
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