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Development of relationships in interorganizational networks: studies in the tourism and construction industries

Pesämaa, Ossi (2007): Development of relationships in interorganizational networks: studies in the tourism and construction industries. Published in: (2007): pp. 1-303.

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A firm is a type of organizational arrangement often involved in interorganizational networks. Typically, interorganizational networks are the outcome of individuals in firms working together in cooperative groups. Through these individuals firms establish both formal and social relationships. The individuals develop lasting relationships because they share time, interests, goals, industrial, geographical or some other type of relatedness. Shared goals and interests of the relationship become an observable unit built upon various constructs. Interorganizational networks typically involve one or several different types of relationship constructs. This thesis elaborates on different relationship constructs and proposes different roles for each construct. All relationships are studied at a firm level since managers are considered key informants for the firm. The overall research question is: How do relationships in interorganizational networks develop? The main objective is to examine the development of these relationships in interorganizational networks. Deleted two sentences The approach is to synthesize 10 essays on relationships between five constructs – reciprocity, trust, cooperation, interorganizational commitment and loyalty. The results indicate that relationships are based upon a long term orientation. Secondly, relationships develop from certain processes before interaction is initiated. These processes involve the influence of cooperative motives to enter interorganizational networks and preferences upon which potential partners are selected. Furthermore, the initial processes involving motives and preferences expand to include the development of relationships based on friendships, interpersonal commitments, reciprocity and trust. The ultimate outcome of this process is stability and maturity, which means relationships are sustained by dependencies, their initial objectives and the desire to protect. Dependencies are reflected in interorganizational commitment, which means the firms' future intentions and promises strengthen the relationships. The objectives interorganizational networks are founded upon motivate network firms to develop relationships based on cooperative strategies so that shared goals and decisions can be effectively pursued. Finally, the firms typically protect their relationships by developing loyalties. All models represent unique examples of potential relationships and some models are particularly important because they were purified so that convergent, nomological and discriminant validity criteria could be met. The results are consistent with but extend previous research and are considered important for future business studies in general, but particularly within the tourism and construction industries. A practical implication of the research is thus that in evaluating new opportunities, firms should carefully examine the characteristics of potential partners as well as how the partnership might influence the content of their relationships. Another practical implication is that trust and reciprocity should be viewed differently in building successful network partnerships.

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