Title: The causes of conflict when small- and medium-sized competitors cooperate

Authors: Annika Tidstrom

Addresses: Department of Management, University of Vaasa, P.O. Box 700, 65101 Vaasa, Finland

Abstract: Traditionally, the business network approach focuses on the cooperative aspects of business relationships. Competition is deliberately left aside. It is, however, a fact that business relationships often consist of both cooperation and competition, which also can be termed |coopetition|. Especially, the Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) need to cooperate with other companies in order to develop, survive or get access to resources. One type of business relationship that seems to be especially interesting, considering coopetition, is intercompetitor cooperation. Conflicts are natural when competitors cooperate. The aim of this paper is to increase our understanding of the causes of conflict when small- and medium-sized competitors cooperate. The empirical part of this paper is based on two case studies within two different industries in Finland. The findings of the study show that the causes of conflicts in intercompetitor cooperation can be organisational, relational or externally related.

Keywords: small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; conflicts; intercompetitor cooperation; coopetition; case studies; Finland; competition.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2009.024106

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2009 Vol.8 No.1, pp.74 - 91

Published online: 25 Mar 2009 *

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