A Systems Theoretical Approach to Interorganizational Collaborative Relationships
Collaborative Relationships Just as the Industrial Age has been an era characterized by the growth and spread of the large hierarchically controlled organizations, life beyond the Bubble may be characterized by a variety of business and non-business organizations based on cultures of relationship rather than culture of control. Peter Senge, 2010, p. 363 In pre-industrial societies artisans were the basic producing unit. Most ac- tivities involved in production were concentrated in their hands. But, even then, it is probable that increasing product complexity and demand required interactions to supply the artisans with raw materials and tools. This trend developed slowly until the Industrial Revolution, which was marked by for- mal organization, division of labor and a focus on eﬃciency and eﬃcacy through the intensive use of technology. In this so-called industrial society, the interdependence among organizations increased further. Their interaction became a precondition for their own existence. Despite this fact, it was only in the early 1960s that interorganizational relationships became a subject of scientiﬁc research. Up until then, the focus of organizational science was mainly directed at intraorganizational phenomena, while interorganizational interactions were widely neglected (Evan, 1965, pp. B218). Interactions among organizations can assume diﬀerent forms1. Examples include the direct interaction of members, the emission of public opinions, 1At this point interactions should be understood broadly as any form of communica- tion among organizations. 18 CHAPTER 2. COLLABORATIVE RELATIONSHIPS economic transactions and the appeal to law. This multi-faceted nature of interorganizational relationships allows them to...
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