Managing Inter-organizational Collaborations: Process Views: Volume 64
Table of contents(15 chapters)
Part I: Relational Dynamics in Inter-organizational Collaboration
This chapter examines three kinds of relational bonds (trust-based commitments, forbearance-based commitments, and apprehension-based commitments) on which parties rely in the processes employed in negotiating, committing, and executing their cooperative inter-organizational relationships (CIORs). It also considers three different societal contexts with strong, moderately strong, and weak exogenous governance safeguards in which these relational bonds are employed. The authors propose a process theory of relational bonds that fit different contexts. Specifically, our central proposition is that parties to CIORs are more likely to achieve their goals when they rely on relational bonds that fit their societal contexts in which they engage in economic exchanges.
This chapter examines key drivers of variation in adaptive capacity of project network organizations (PNOs). PNOs are defined as strategically coordinated sets of longer-term, yet project-based relationships, which provide for both stability and change in volatile project businesses. While prior research has emphasized the adaptive role of flexible structures and agency, the author focuses on the role of project variety and contextual embedding and disembedding in building adaptive capacity. Comparing two PNOs in TV movie production, the author argues that differences in adaptive capacity are a function of inter-context connectivity, that is, the level of task and team linkages among diverse project contexts, and the degree to which network ties and relational practices have “dual quality” in being valuable both within and beyond specific project contexts. Findings have important implications for project, network, and organization research.
This chapter addresses the dynamics in inter-organizational relations. The authors probe the value networks so prevalent within contemporary manufacturing to put forward that their basic cooperation/competition duality manifests itself in practical terms as capability, appropriation, and governance paradoxes. The authors conducted a longitudinal ethnographic study aimed at capturing the process by which inter-organizational collaboration in manufacturing value networks is enacted. Our study finds that inter-organizational relations are “nested” in that a relationship plays out over an interpersonal network where the inter-organizational relationships are a framework for action, while simultaneously interpersonal interactions affect how the inter-organizational relationships take shape and evolve. Furthermore, we found that inter-organizational dynamics is essentially a stratified process. Solving particular and concrete problems at the surface level, with regard to specific collaboration issues between organizations, simultaneously shapes truces with regard to the underlying capability, appropriation, and governance paradoxes.
Advanced information technologies, and particularly big data, provide new affordances to facilitate inter-organizational collaboration. Rich flows of real-time data provide transparency across organizational boundaries and enable greater automation of inter-organizational routines. Taking stock of the literature and building on observations from the research in an industrial setting, the authors introduce the concept of technological embeddedness as an important characteristic of inter-organizational relationships, denoting the degree of monitoring, control, and optimization of intra- and inter-organizational tasks accomplished through technology at the interface of the inter-organizational relationship. The authors theorize how increasing technological embeddedness created by big data technologies affects the development of inter-organizational trust, mutual adaptation, and temporal structuring of collaboration. The propositions elaborate how greater technological embeddedness enables collaboration, and warn about the potential limiting effects of technological embeddedness on the development of interpersonal trust, strategic learning, and long-term orientation.
Part II: Organizational Dynamics Forming and Dissolving Collaboration
While inter-organizational collaboration concerns processes of organizing between firms, it is always initiated and enacted by individual people who perceive a need for collaboration. This chapter takes the perspective of these actors and their efforts to seek collaboration as they pursue an agenda for change. Collaboration processes are thus conceptualized as path creation and internal strategizing. The chapter focuses specifically on how actors sell the need for collaboration internally and how they draw on their external network to promote change. It illustrates this process of issue selling and collaboration with six case studies in the area of new product development, new forms of network governance, and network-wide change of business practices. Comparing these more or less successful trajectories highlights the relevance of the relational context in issue selling, the role of intentionality within emerging processes, and interplay between external collaboration and internal strategizing.
Whereas incumbents often struggle to respond to disruptive innovations, start-up companies frequently face difficulties in establishing them within existing ecosystems. Phased acquisitions, that is, trajectories where an incumbent initially takes an equity stake in a start-up and subsequently acquires it, have been suggested as viable strategy to address these challenges. Whereas prior research has focused on the macro-level governance of such phased acquisitions, the authors explore the micro-level governance, examining how the existence of and changes in particular coordination and control mechanisms can shape the phased acquisition and its performance implications. Based on a longitudinal process study of a phased acquisition in which one start-up and one incumbent jointly developed and commercialized a disruptive technology, the authors develop a process model that (1) illuminates the existence of micro-level governance shifts and their impact on the decision to transition from equity alliance to acquisition, (2) identifies specific triggers of micro-level governance shifts, and (3) emphasizes the existence of counterintuitive micro-level governance spillovers across alliance and acquisition.
This chapter presents an in-depth inductive analysis of a parent organization and the network of subsidiaries that it has created. The authors identify the significance of organizational processes label as “disciplining entrepreneurialism.” These are activities that encourage entrepreneurial individuals to propose and lead new businesses while also promoting strong identification with the parent firm. The authors explore the emergence of this phenomenon through an examination of subsidiary–headquarter relations. While conventional conceptualization of inter-organizational collaboration has tended to exclude subsidiary–headquarter network relationships, we use the Systems of Exchange framework (Biggart & Delbridge, 2004) to categorize disciplined entrepreneurship alongside market, hierarchy, and network relations. Disciplining entrepreneurialism is not experienced as either market nor hierarchy by the individual members in the subsidiaries, and these subsidiaries move between the two in ways that are not adequately captured as a network either. This disciplining entrepreneurship approach can thus be contrasted with networks as well as differentiated from both markets and hierarchies. Entrepreneurship is encouraged while maintaining commitment to the overarching enterprise of the parent company.
Divestitures and other forms of organizational separation are not commonly associated with continuity and ongoing collaboration in inter-organizational relationships. Instead, separation is often equated with terminating relationships and gaining independence. Here, the authors argue that achieving separation does not require terminating relationships and that ongoing collaboration between separating entities may actually contribute to successful separation. The authors base this argument on the assertion that the objective of organizational separation is to achieve organizational autonomy for all entities involved and that separating entities can enable each other’s development of autonomy while remaining interdependent. The authors also discuss how collaborative separation may contribute to a range of benefits, as well as why it may nevertheless fail to emerge in practice. In this respect, the authors consider the relevance of ethical perspectives and emotional dynamics related to feelings of (dis)respect, (dis)trust, pride and shame. The authors conclude by discussing activities that may contribute to, and undermine, effective collaborative separation.
Part III: Dynamic Collaboration Beyond Organizations
Innovation challenges are increasingly complex, cutting across distributed actors from different disciplines, organizations, and fields. Solving such challenges requires creating the capacities of opening up for innovation to access and develop a greater amount and variety of knowledge and resources. Perspectives on open source, open innovation, and interorganizational collaboration have explored such capacities, but from different origins and scopes of analysis. Our practice-based integrative framework of “opening innovation” helps highlight these differences and connect their relative strengths. Through a critical literature review paired with an analysis of different empirical cases from Hacking Health, a non-profit organization helping drive digital health innovation, the authors reveal the user-centric, firm-centric, and field-centric approaches to opening innovation that progressively connect a greater variety of actors and resources. The authors show how specific new relational practices they produce address the new relational dynamics these connections bring to accumulate more resources for innovation to keep progressing.
Crowdsourcing – a form of collaboration across organizational boundaries – provides access to knowledge beyond an organization’s local knowledge base. Integrating work on organization theory and innovation, the authors first develop a framework that characterizes crowdsourcing into a main sequential process, through which organizations (1) define the task they wish to have completed; (2) broadcast to a pool of potential contributors; (3) attract a crowd of contributors; and (4) select among the inputs they receive. For each of these phases, the authors identify the key decisions organizations make, provide a basic explanation for each decision, discuss the trade-offs organizations face when choosing among decision alternatives, and explore how organizations may resolve these trade-offs. Using this decision-centric approach, the authors continue by showing that there are fundamental interdependencies in the process that makes the coordination of crowdsourcing challenging.
For at least three decades, inter-organizational collaboration (IOC) has attracted scholarly attention and many studies have unveiled its inner dynamics. More recently, new phenomena have appeared in the changing landscape of IOC, affecting the way in which organizations are open to interact with, and rely upon, other actors that may be standalone entities as well as representatives of other organizations. These actors operate “betwixt and between” the organizational core and its external environment(s), populating a liminal space located at the organization’s boundary in which activities take place according to non-proprietary and non-employment logics. The authors focus on the forms of collaboration, which blur the lines between organizations, calling into question the fundamental label of crowd-focused IOCs. The authors consider two forms: crowd-open and crowd-based organizations. The authors show the organizational design impact of openness spans from the mere scalability associated with organizational growth to the phenomena of reshaping formalization and standardization of roles and processes, and self-organizing over time.
This chapter advances our understanding of collaborative innovation processes that span across organizational boundaries by providing an ethnographic account of idea generation dynamics in a member-initiated online songwriting community. Applying a science and technology studies perspective on processes “in the making,” the findings of this chapter reveal the generative entanglements of three processes of content-in-the-making, skill-in-the-making, and community-in-the-making that were triggered and maintained over time by temporary stabilizations of provisional, interim outcomes. These findings also elucidate interferences between these three processes, particularly when an increased focus on songs as products undermines the ongoing collaborative production of ideas. Regular interventions in the community design were necessary to simultaneously stimulate the three processes and counteract interfering tendencies that either prioritized content production, community building, or skill development, respectively. The authors conclude that firms seeking to tap into online communities’ innovative potential need to appreciate community and skill development as creative processes in their own right that have to be fostered and kept in sync with content production.
- Publication date
- Book series
- Research in the Sociology of Organizations
- Series copyright holder
- Emerald Publishing Limited
- Book series ISSN