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The Coordination of Inter-Organizational Networks in the Enterprise Software Industry

The Perspective of Complementors


Thomas Kude

In the enterprise software industry, large platform vendors have established partner networks with smaller providers of complementary solutions. This study takes the perspective of these complementors. How do they coordinate their partnerships with platform vendors? What are the circumstances under which different coordination mechanisms lead to partnership success? Based on existing theories and the findings from extensive qualitative research, a new explanatory model is developed. The study contributes to theory building efforts in the Information Systems discipline as well as in adjacent fields by providing a better understanding of partnership coordination and success. The implications for successful partnership management are highly relevant for practitioners.


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5 Empirical substantiation and theory refinement


5 Empirical substantiation and theory refinement As discussed in Chapter 3, this study follows a two-staged approach in order to answer the research question of how spokes coordinate the partnership with hubs and how the partnership can be successful from a spoke’s point of view. Chapter 4 has presented in detail the findings of the first, exploratory phase. These results show that the way how spoke organizations coordinate the partnerships with hubs depends on the perceived complementarity between the resources and capabilities of hub and spoke (Figure 4.1). Moreover, the coordination mechanisms that spokes strive for were found to be influenced by the availability of IOS as well as the perceived threat of opportunistic behavior on part of the hub. The success of the partnerships from the spokes’ perspective was in turn found to depend on the actual complementarity between hub and spoke resources as well as the degree of organizational coupling (Figure 4.2). The goal of the second phase is to substantiate these findings by examining if the models built by means of the exploratory case studies hold when explaining the coordination and success of a wider set of partnerships. Moreover, the second round of empirical investigation aims at refining the identified constructs and theoretical links. In particular, by means of a second round of case studies that are driven by the gained theoretical insights, the study aims at shedding more light on the differences between perceived and actual resource complementarity. Next, the analyzed...

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