Consistent Inconsistency : The Role of Tension in Explaining Change in Interorganizational Relationships

Sammanfattning: This thesis commences with the notion that interorganizational exchange relationships are dynamic to an unprecedented degree. It is argued that, global production networks have integrated firms into interdependent structures that blur traditional geographical and organizational boundaries. It is also true that the same networks bring together companies with diverse socio-cultural and economic backgrounds. Thus, the thesis focuses on the complexity of the contemporary international business landscape. The purpose of the work performed was to understand the process of change in interorganizational relationships under these complexities.Through a qualitative study of two main cases and a pilot study, the thesis investigates the networking behavior and the relationship dynamics between multinational companies from Sweden and Turkey, operating in Turkish and Swedish markets, respectively. By examining how firms create, maintain, dissolve and reconstruct their relationships, the thesis contributes to problematizing some of the assumptions that are commonly taken for granted, but which underpin several studies of interorganizational relationship dynamics. The findings illustrate that as recent trends such as cross-border acquisitions frequently perturb the contexts within which firms are embedded, the impact might be favorable for some actors, while others might push for new and different ‘directions’, finding the existing relational arrangements and resource structures counter to their future goals. Yet, the actions of parties are constrained by the structural position in which they find themselves. Thus, the development of an exchange relationship involves multiple processes, often inconsistent with one another, thereby disturbing the stability of the relationship.Through the aggregation of each paper’s contribution, the “Thesis Summary” offers a wide perspective of the relationship dynamics. By incorporating both teleological and dialectical views, the framework proposed captures both the actions undertaken by individual firms to make change, and the structural forces both promoting and opposing change. Ultimately, the thesis offers a framework for investigating the impact of complexity on change in interorganizational relationships, opening doors to an improved understanding of the significance divergent perspectives and disruptive experiences have on relationship change.

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