Introducing Inter‐organizational Relations - Oxford Handbooks
This type of interorganizational relationship, and other forms of organizational collaboration and linking together, represent an increasingly common strategy for . Just as "no man is an island," no company is an entity unto itself. Interorganizational relations are critical to the success of individual businesses and the. Interorganizational relationships between businesses or nonprofits are also known as strategic relationships. The philosophy behind forming.
Similarly, Miles and Cameron's study of the cooperative strategies employed among the Big Six firms within the tobacco industry demonstrates the effects on profitability of organized efforts among ostensible competitors. Page Share Cite Suggested Citation: The National Academies Press.
Network analysis differs from organizational set and industry analysis in seeking not only to identify the relationships among organizations but also to examine the character and structure of those relationships, usually by modeling them mathematically Nohria and Eccles, The premise is that the networks within which an organization is embedded both constrain and provide opportunities for action.
Organizational actions, and hence performance possibilities, are to a large degree explained by an organization's position within a network of organizations.
One body of research looks primarily at nonprofit community service organizations Laumann and Papi, ; Galaskiewicz, ; Knoke and Rogers, and has the advantage of looking closely at the multiple and overlapping ties between organizations in a community, usually a geographically bounded setting.
These studies tend to show how interdependencies among organizations that exchange money, people, political support, and other resources come to shape possibilities for action. Focusing on a geographic region, however, limits researchers' ability to assess the impact on performance of forces and organizations outside the region. Much of the recent interest in strategic alliances, joint ventures, and other forms of interorganizational relationships came about as an attempt to facilitate or manage network relations, increasingly possible since the Reagan administration's weaker enforcement of antitrust laws and the passage of legislation permitting some forms of research consortia.
Another important factor shaping network research is the observation that new high-technology industries, notably biotechnology and electronics, are characterized by intense patterns of formal and informal network relations. Barley and colleagues Instead, relevant technical knowledge is more efficiently obtained by direct access to research conducted elsewhere" and made available through interorganizational relations.
The authors note, too, that whereas some high-technology industries such as electronics build on scientific communities such as chemistry and physics that have been integrated into industrial manufacturing since the nineteenth century, biotechnology is founded on a wholly new community of participants. Recent advances in recombinant DNA and hybridoma cell formation suddenly brought cutting-edge molecular biology into the center of the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.
In biotechnology, far more than electronics, however, strategic alliances between small research firms and well-funded larger corporations are common because of the expense Page Share Cite Suggested Citation: They conclude that "the way in which a firm participates in the network is integral to its strategy for survival and growth" p. Another and perhaps most important factor in prompting research on organizational networks is the observation that business networks have been widely successful in the global economy.
Regime Analysis Another approach to analyzing interorganizational cooperation, international regimes, was developed from the need to understand cooperation in the less structured global system.
An international regime is a set of explicit or implicit principles, norms, rules, and decision-making procedures around which actor expectations converge and that help coordinate actor behavior Krasner, ; see also Mayer et al. Some examples include the regimes surrounding nuclear nonproliferation, the law of the sea, and the nascent international environmental regime Young, Regime analysis represents a movement away from purely institutional analysis Kratochwil and Ruggie, to one that looks at broader and sometimes less formal patterns of cooperation Kahn and Zald, Organizations play several roles in the regime.
Certainly, cooperation among organizations can be the driving force behind the development of an international regime or define its structure; an example is the coordination among national health agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the World Health Organization.
Yet organizations, and cooperation among them, can also be the consequence of or institutionalized manifestation of coordination between different groups or states in the world. International cooperation can also occur outside or independent of organizations, providing the analyst with a broader conception of behavior than is present by a pure concentration on institutional behavior.
A focus on organizations and cooperation is also enhanced by understanding the broader milieu in which organizations operate and cooperation emerges Haas, The limitations of the regime framework, however, include its difficulty with accommodating change, its being too issue-specific to permit generalizations, and its limited applicability to more structured, less anarchic environments than global politics for a more detailed critique of this approach, see Strange, Firms in a market are more likely to compete, and not collaborate, when the market is stagnant or declining and resources are increasingly scarce Porter, Franchises An individual seeking to start a small business may consider purchasing a franchise from a larger corporation.
One benefit to obtaining a national franchise is that the template and branding of the company is already in place.Interorganizational Relationships
You are, in a sense, stepping into a business that is already established without having to lay as much groundwork. This does not necessarily mean, however, that you cannot add your own personal touches to the business. You still must satisfy your customer base with your manner of operations. Outsourcing Outsourcing is a common form of interorganizational relations. Often, it costs more to do everything "in-house" at your small company than it does if you hire another company to handle a specific aspect of your business.
For instance, you might want to create a hour customer service line for your company but lack the manpower and funds to host it at your location. In this case, you might want to hire an outside company to handle calls during the hours in which your business is closed.
For outsourcing to be profitable, there must be support of the highest company officers, detailed communication with all involved personnel and the proven ability of the vendor to deliver what is promised.
It was only in the mids that this began to change.
Since then, the study of inter-organizational relations in world politics has mostly drawn on five theoretical approaches: These approaches will be introduced; for the sake of comparability, all five are presented in the same way, by carving out their theoretical tradition and key concepts, their core argument and causal logic, as well as their understandings of organizations and how they relate. Each presentation offers a brief look at how the respective approach has been applied. Inter-Organizational Relations in World Politics Compared to neighboring disciplines, inquiries into inter-organizational relations have come a long way in international studies.
In sociology, psychology, and administration science, but also in economics and business studies, sensitivity to the topic began to rise back in the s and s. Today, IR scholars interested in global order can choose among at least five theoretical approaches for examining inter-organizational relations: Only one of them, regime complexity, originates in political science or IR.
The other four have been imported from sociology.
Sociological neo-institutionalism, as its name suggests, emanates from sociology exclusively; resource dependence is rooted in economics and sociology, while network accounts have their foundations in psychology and sociology. Thus, the corresponding approach to analyze inter-organizational relations has its source in political and social philosophy as well as sociology.
Rationalist and constructivist approaches can be roughly distinguished by their individualist and holist ontologies. Proponents of predominantly rationalist accounts—resource dependence, network accounts, and regime complexity—tend to conceive of organizations or organizational actors as atoms amid an environment of other atoms.
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In this view, contact between these atoms in a world of scarcities always has to be established first at some cost. By contrast, adherents of constructivist accounts for examining inter-organizational relations treat the social context among organizations as always already there. Relations with others provide the conditions for organizational self-constitution. Constructivist reasoning is exemplified by sociological neo-institutionalism.
These references hint at a slight tendency to transcend the rationalist-constructivist divide among scholars of inter-organizational relations.
Against this background, the inter-organizational account rooted in classical pragmatism also aims at transcending the rationalist-constructivist divide. Two qualifications must be made concerning the focus on theoretical approaches.
First, contributions that deal with inter-organizational relations from a decidedly empirical or policy viewpoint are not included. The disregard for these writings might indicate that the gap George, between scholars who address either an audience of academics or one of practitioners still exists. For a more inclusive map of the inter-organizational field, however, see Biermann and Koops ; for classifications by representatives of other disciplines, see Oliver and EbersReitanBarringer and Harrisonas well as Rossignoli and Ricciardi As to the second concern, the focus on theoretical approaches seems to downplay the relevance of those studies that combine two or more of these accounts.
Even resource dependence and sociological neo-institutionalism appear together sometimes Brosig, The present mode of presentation, however, does not deny the originality of these writings. Five Theoretical Approaches for Examining Inter-Organizational Relations Five theoretical approaches used in international relations IR to make sense of inter-organizational relations are introduced: For the sake of better comparability, each exploration will be guided by the same questions and will address them in the same order: What is the overarching theoretical or intellectual tradition in which the approach is rooted?
What further key concepts are of relevance for the approach, and what do they mean? What is the core argument of the approach? What is its causal logic, or, what kinds of ascriptions of causality are made? How are organizations and their relations conceptualized?
What are the major empirical issues and fields to which the approach is applied? Sociological Neo-Institutionalism Theoretical Tradition and Key Concepts Sociological neo-institutionalism is known as the Stanford School approach, at least in organization studies. The term Stanford School helps distinguish this direction of thought from those followed by scholars such as Robert K. Whereas the latter focused on decision-making by individuals and organizations, bureaucratic functions and roles were emphasized at Columbia, where Meyer received a PhD for his reflections on Some Methodological Problems of Organizational Research in Scott,pp.
Sociological neo-institutionalism contests both new institutional economics and traditional concepts of institutions in sociology. This makes it sociological and neo.
This, for instance, encompasses shaking hands between friends every time they meet. Sociological neo-institutionalism operates with a notion of institution that is more closely connected to features of organizations and their emergence.
Correspondingly, institutionalization refers to societally shared and taken-for-granted ideas of what is characterizing organizations Walgenbach,pp. Mimetic isomorphism describes situations of uncertainty and ambiguous goals in which successful and legitimate organizations serve as models for mimesis. Finally, normative isomorphism grasps the diffusion of organizational patterns by members of particular, professionalized occupations, for instance.
These are not only held to have a similar academic background but also, due to this shared background, to be guided by similar norms. However, organizations are not considered to give in to external demands per se.
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They are also conceptualized as interested in defending their autonomy against inconsistent expectations. This is where the notion of decoupling comes in, which draws upon a distinction between formal structure and actual working activities.
By decoupling the latter from the former, organizations can deal with institutionalized requirements from the environment on a formal level without affecting their day-to-day working activities.
Organizations are grasped as constructed by this universal culture because they adapt to them for the sake of increasing their legitimacy and strengthening their capacities for survival.