Sustainable Collaboration: Managing Conflict and Cooperation in Interorganizational Systems

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Abstract

Current interorganizational systems literature focuses on describing the role of information technology in enabling the transition from interfirm competition to cooperation. This article points out that the promise of IT-enabled cooperation, if not nurtured, can degenerate into conflict. The objective of this article is to identify possible risks of conflict in the IOS arena and to suggest strategies for minimizing the likelihood of such conflict. It does so by developing a typology for characterizing IOS along the dimension of interorganization interdependency in interfirm relationships. This typology classifies interorganizational systems into three types: pooled information resource IOS, value/supply chain IOS, and networked IOS. By examining the characteristics of these three types of IOSs the article identifies the economic, technical, and socio-political arguments for potential conflict in these systems. The identification of the risks, in turn, leads to a discussion of possible strategies for containing these risks. The article finally suggests that if the intended benefits of the collaboration are to be realized and sustained, corporate "statesmen" need to nurture the cooperation by anticipating these risks and managing them proactively.

Additional Details

Author Kuldeep Kumar and Han G. van Dissel
Year 1996
Volume 20
Issue 3
Keywords Interorganizational systems, sustainability, organizational strategies, collaborative use of IT/IS
Page Numbers 279-300