Title: Packing more punch? Developing the field of inter-organisational relations
Author: Steve Cropper, Mark Ebers, Chris Huxham, Peter Smith Ring
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Research Institute for Social Sciences, Keele University, Keele, Staffs, ST5 5BG, UK.
Faculty of Business Administration, Economics, and Social Sciences, Cologne University, Albertus-Magnus-Platz, 50923 Cologne, Germany.
Department of Management, University of Strathclyde Business School, 199 Cathedral Street, Glasgow, G4 0QU, UK.
Department of Management, College of Business Administration, Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045, USA
Abstract: Since Evan's (1965) call for a theory of inter-organisational relations (IOR), research into IOR has proliferated as inter-organisational practice has become more commonplace. We argue that knowledge about IOR has developed in fragmented and highly differentiated ways, despite periodic attempts to review knowledge and set an agenda for future research. Building on Culpan's (2009) prospectus for research into strategic business alliances in this journal, we argue for a more systematic, concerted programme of consolidation and abstraction of knowledge as a specific accumulation dynamic. We suggest two ways of cutting IOR's fragmentary web of knowledge. The first orders knowledge by researchers' primary substantive interests; the second derives conceptual foci from our definition of IOR. We outline three levels of work to link existing IOR knowledge. We see these as cumulative and increasingly strong, and, together, as forming the basis for consolidation of knowledge in an IOR vademecum.
Keywords: inter-organisational relations; IOR; knowledge fragmentation; comparison; integration; consolidation; accumulation; vademecum; strategic business alliances.
Int. J. of Strategic Business Alliances, 2011 Vol.2, No.3, pp.153 - 170
Available online: 26 Jun 2011