This text draws together a wide variety of study that provides up the examine of inter-organizational connections (IOR). It contains many empirical settings and a variety of disciplinary and also theoretical bases and several specific topic areas. It is mainly came to with representing the state of understanding in the emerging field that IOR research; in addition, it looks for to suggest fruitful avenues for future research. IOR is involved with relationships between and among organizations. The examine of IOR is involved with expertise the character and also pattern, origins, rationale, and aftermath of such relationships. The organizations deserve to be public, business, or non-profit and the relationships can range from dyadic, entailing just 2 organizations, come multiplicitous, involving substantial networks of numerous organizations.

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Keywords: inter-organizational relations, empirical settings, IOR research, organization, networks


In this Handbook, we attract together a wide range of research study that renders up the examine of Inter‐organizational relations—or IOR. As will certainly be seen, us include numerous empirical settings and also a variety of disciplinary and theoretical bases and also several certain topic areas. The Handbook is mainly concerned with representing the state of knowledge in the emerging field the IOR research; in addition, it looks for to suggest fruitful opportunities for future research. While there plainly are effects for practice, the key audience handle by the Handbook will certainly be researcher from a variety of disciplinary and theoretical backgrounds who look for to extend their awareness that the different ways in i beg your pardon IOR contexts, theories, and topics have actually been treated.

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So what execute we median by ‘Inter‐organizational relations’? Inter‐organizational relations, as its topic name suggests, is pertained to with relationships in between and among organizations. In this publication we will usage the acronym, ‘IOR’, to refer to the surname of the field—i.e. Inter‐organizational relations—and ‘IORs’ to describe these Inter‐organizational relationships. The examine of IOR is involved with expertise the character and pattern, origins, rationale, and results of together relationships. The organizations deserve to be public, business, or non‐profit and the relationships can variety from dyadic, involving just two organizations, to multiplicitous, involving vast networks of plenty of organizations. Empirical instances the IORs are ubiquitous and hugely varied. Come name yet a few, they deserve to involve relations between: this firm (e.g. Fuji—Xerox; Bosch—Siemens Hausgeräte; automotive industry alliances); firms and state‐owned enterprises (e.g. GE—Snecma); firms and also governmental agencies (e.g. 3M—NASA; Microsoft‐local authorities); governmental organ (e.g. Port‐Authority of new York and new Jersey; community treatment partnerships; Verband region Rhein—Neckar); firms and non‐governmental institutions (NGOs) (Starbucks and worldwide Exchange); governmental agencies and voluntary ar or ar organizations (e.g. Service delivery contracts; community planning partnerships); non‐profit organizations (e.g. Barnardos—Carnegie; councils because that voluntary organizations); and also so on.

In common parlance, it often tends not so lot to be the ‘relations’ the are spoken about (i.e. The methods in which establishments connect), as the Inter‐organizational entities—or IOEs—that room the manifestations that the visibility of Inter‐organizational relationships. Terms such together partnership, alliance, and network are widely supplied discursive representations of IOEs, however many various other expressions are likewise in continuous use among different sectors of the practice and also research communities. Some of the much more common people are listed in figure 1.1.

Much the the IOR hatchet in typical use, consisting of partnership, alliance, and also network, is in the form of nouns supplied as surname or labels because that IOEs, yet there are also several typically used adjectives operation as descriptors for much more specific IOE manifestations such together ‘coordinated organization agreements’ or ‘virtual task group’. Various other phraseology, for example, outsourcing and also franchising, is cited in terms of the actual act of relating. Number 1.1 has all 3 categories that terminology. Some terms have actually a form in all three categories—for example, a collaboration, collaborative, collaboration. Others are usually used in one category, yet there is generally an implicit indistinguishable expression in the other categories—for example, outsourcing (act name) implies an outsourcing plan (IOE descriptor) and also an outsourcing (or contractual) commitment (IOE name).


We have actually introduced these terms at this suggest in order come ground the book early top top in the knowledgeable world. The on purpose is to carry out a feeling of the ar of IOR v invoking language native spheres the practice and also extant research study with i beg your pardon readers room likely already to it is in comfortable. However, we carry out not intend at this phase to connect precise an interpretation to any type of of this language. All of these state are provided with (p. 5) multiplicitous meanings. Although researchers have actually often detailed definitions, no one has become universally accepted. The chapters the follow—particularly those in component II—will use and define state in their very own ways. The is also important to note that few of the language in number 1.1 is in usual use, with meanings that are not within the domain that IOR. Most particularly, IOR is not pertained to with relations between individuals unless they are, in some appropriate way, affiliated to, and representing (or, at least, identifying with) various organizations.

Though IOR, by definition, is involved with relations between organizations, this have the right to be taken at different levels. From some research perspectives, IOR is conceptualized in state of cases in which one or more people from each of 2 or an ext organizations create a working relationship. From other perspectives it is the establishments themselves that are taken into consideration to have actually the relationship. We incorporate both that these large perspectives in our coverage that the area. Some corollaries are, however, needed.

First, while the ar of IOR includes inquiry into competitive and also conflictual relationships, we have largely minimal our interpretation of the term and also coverage the the field in this Handbook to relationships that are based on mutual interest—i.e. Cooperative or collaborative. However, we carry out not exclude the opportunity of vain or conflictual facets in this relationships, and, indeed, would watch what Schelling (1980) referred to as ‘mixed motive’ relations as a norm. Second, our use of the term ‘IOR’ relates to instances in i beg your pardon a connection implies much more than a passing transaction. Thus, for example, we include supply chain kinds (p. 6) as soon as there is an agreement to co‐operate over the longish term, but do not encompass arm"s length, spot sector buyer—seller relationships. Third, we have not consisted of mergers and acquisitions within the border of IOR because these typically result in (formally) solitary organizations.

Within the limits specified above, our function in producing this Handbook has actually been to carry together as many perspectives ~ above the study of IOR as feasible in the easily accessible space. In act so, we have aimed to create a referral text that is qualified of giving both a definitive advent to the field and also a method of sustaining researchers in the ar to determine knowledge the extends beyond their own perspective yet which might enrich your analyses and also understanding the IOR phenomena. Together our own backgrounds, despite varied, all are rooted in company science we have provided prominence come perspectives that loss within this discipline. We will describe the choices we have made in the component introductions.

The origins of IOR Research

Inter‐organizational relations and Inter‐organizational entities, as defined above, need to surely have existed for as lengthy as there have been identifiable establishments to relate come one another. Together the research of economies, societies, and also polities ended up being established, and also the meaning of formal organization became clear, scholar in those traditions started to explore some elements of IORs and also that work noted the early on root structure for modern studies of Inter‐organizational phenomena in economics, sociology, and political science (e.g. Marshall 1923; Weber 1947;Selznick 1947). Literature searches because that refereed journal write-ups with the hatchet ‘Inter‐organizational’ in the title reveal that very tiny was in reality published between 1947 and the mid‐1950s. It to be the development of basic systems theory by von Berta‐lanffy (1951), and also its applications to a range of social science difficulties by Boulding (1956), that shows up to have laid the initial cornerstone for the study of IOR.

The introduction of general systems theory into discussions of management theory by Johnson et al. (1964) offered as a stimulus, and a means forward, for those search to discover relations between organizations. They explained systems concept as a method of integrating varied internal and also external determinants that faced managers. In your view, equipment theory additionally helped managers to cope through the complicated nature of these factors. They suggested that that was essential to recognize that firms were component of larger systems (e.g. Industries, societies, etc.). Evan"s (1965) now seminal post introducing the concept of a ‘theory of Inter‐organizational relations’ followed. The laid under a challenge to those exploring organizational phenomena, explicate a ‘widespread overlook of difficulties of Inter‐organizational relations …’ (B‐218). (p. 7) Evan listed that while issues of an Inter‐organizational nature had actually been ignored through scholars, ‘managers are greatly preoccupied with Inter‐organizational relations’.

Evan"s piece seems to have been a far-ranging tipping suggest in the study of organizations and also their relations. As it spicy out, some work-related had already been undertaken on the topic. Ridgeway (1957) had actually explored IORs in between firms, as had actually Dill (1959) and also Phillips (1960). Levine and also White (1961) investigated relations between health and welfare agencies utilizing the emerging theory of social exchange, when Litwak and also Hylton (1962) learned the dynamics in between community chests and also social services. Evan"s investigate had started in the early 1960s, and he was amongst the first to conference the job-related that had actually been done by macacayy (1963) in which relations in between business firms to be explored within a legitimate framework. Macacayy was undoubtedly influenced by Commons"s (1924) views on bargaining transactions. But, at the stage, the job-related on IOR apparently was no deemed progressed enough even to be consisted of as a distinct chapter in the in march (1965)Handbook on Organizations.

Within a reasonably short duration of time, however, Inter‐organizational connections were gift explored by those interested in developing theory based on the resource dependencies that commonly motivated establishments to seek sources via relationships with other institutions (e.g. Aldrich 1976; Pfeffer and Nowak 1976). Similarly, the visibility of various constraints that led organizations to identify whether, when, or exactly how they can engage in IORs led to a emphasis on IOR among some contingency concept scholars (e.g. Thompson 1967; Hickson et al. 1971). Benson (1975) and Metcalfe (1976) discover relations among and in between multiple organizations, relying, in part, top top theories derived from ‘politics’. They presented the ideas of networks and strategy right into the vocabulary that Inter‐organizational relations and also linked the formation and fate that networks to the wider political economy. Ostrom et al."s (1974) work established an early focus top top the comparative aspects of IORs. Cook (1977) to adjust the groundwork for additional explorations based upon exchange and power. Williamson (1975), while focusing primarily on effectiveness in exchanges, and trade‐offs in between market and also hierarchically based governance, detailed the building blocks for among the more dominant theoretical approaches to researches of IORs, transaction expenses theory. Finally, society network analysis, stemming from socio‐structural analysis, or sociometry, i beg your pardon had emerged from pioneering job-related in the 1930s, was ending up being recognized together a an approach of relevance to organizational research. This has provided another important structure for the study of IORs (see Freeman 2004, because that a current review that this literature, and also Kenis and also Oerlemans, this volume).

In reviewing the range of disciplinary‐based investigations of IOR, it shows up that economists were much less interested than sociologists, politics scientists, or management scholars in taking care of IORs. This may have been the case because their technique leads them to view IORs as variables in a mechanism that have impacts on the system yet are determined by forces operating exterior the device (such as natural (p. 8) events, states, social movements, legal systems, unshened norms, religious movements, etc.). These, also as similar kinds that exogenous factors, deserve to be advantageous in explaining the methods or the whys of financial phemonena, but, through themselves, commonly they space not topics of explanation by many economists. For example, even in his second pass at theorizing around governance mechanisms, Williamson (1985: 22) hosted as constants numerous of the type of factors that other social scientists exploring IORs were introducing right into their investigations. Thus, the is not also surprising to discover that if economics could have listed a far-ranging basis for expertise IORs, economists (Phillips 1960 to be an exception) were not actively involved at an early stage in emerging or complementing theories around Inter‐organizational relations.

The wealth and variety of the ideologies to the study of organizations and the connections that they developed were well enough developed by the mid‐1970s the the an initial of a proceeding stream of ‘reviews’ of work-related done to day was provided by van de Ven in 1976. Galaskiewicz complied with suit in 1985, Oliver in 1990, Barringer and Harrison in 2000, and Galaskiewicz et al. Again in 2004. In all cases, these authors defined a field that was ending up being increasingly ‘fragmented’. The disciplinary orientations of early scholars (management, organization theory, company behaviour, economic geography, windy administration, psychology, law, etc.) had actually resulted in a variety of research traditions that had actually grown silo‐like. Each seemed to ‘store’ distinctive ‘grains’ that insights into Inter‐organizational relations. And also over time, however within these theoretically and also disciplinary ‘governed’ silos, emphasis was offered to examining the growing selection in the types of Inter‐organizational entities the were manifesting us in every sectors that the economic situations (e.g. Joint ventures, networks, partnerships, etc.); scholars from various disciplines search to explain the very same phenomenon. Researchers from techniques that had occurred bodies the knowledge approximately IOR soon likewise began to focus on details topics the seemed specifically relevant either since of the type of IORs or IOE gift studied and/or the concept or theories being supplied to examine them.

As reflected in Table 1.1, the lot of scholarly work handling just four of the state commonly linked with the components of this volume has grown significantly over the past half‐century. No surprisingly, end time, the structures that might have supported more proliferation of professional lines that inquiry have actually been severely stressed.

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Two things appear to be taking place. First, those studying these phenomena with a single theoretical lens have actually tended to stay concentrated on concerns that are identified as significant within that terms and in the trajectory that inquiry the the theory and also its community of scholars have actually established. In our view, however, the reasonable of plenty of theoretical borders is in reality breaking down. And so, second, the boundaries of theories being supplied to inspection IORs or IOEs have begun to intrude on each other. For instance in Yeung"s thing on financial Geography in this Handbook the conversation of ‘the relational turn’ is based upon the enrichment of that perspective v theories from business sociology. In this respect, (p. 9) this Handbook intends to carry out a method for those who have actually relied top top a solitary disciplinary or theoretical lens to engage in an ext cross‐boundary investigations of IORs and also IOEs.