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Interorganizational relationships in project-based networks: Problems of Communication and Collaboration: MBA-thesis in marketing
University of Gävle, Department of Business Administration and Economics.
2007 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 10 points / 15 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Purpose: Although under the last decade there has been increased interest in management of project-based teams and numerous examples of such relationships exist, relatively little is known about “the dynamics of shorter relationships”. Management of communication between partners involved in short-term project-based relationships and the ways, in which multiparty value is created as a result, form a task for important and necessary research in marketing theory and practice. This study aims to define whether there exists a positive relationship between management activities that can influence the communication environment within project-based groups and effectiveness of collaboration between participants.

Research question: In what role management incentives can positively influence communication and collaboration within a network of the external parties involved in a project?

Approach: The research design for this study includes a literature review and a longitudinal observational case study. The aim was drawing on and extending important ideas of research on organizational management of project-based teams. On the basis of literature review aspects that have the most influential impact on communication within project-based networks are organized in a integrative framework that gives an image of factors influencing relationships in project-based teams. The theoretical model is proved through a qualitative study of project-based teams performance. Data was collected through the use of meetings observations, email interviewing of participants and informal interviews.

Findings: Although sensemaking and relational exchanges are distinct concepts in the extant literature, this study illustrates the ways in which the two are interconnected: the social processes of relational exchanges between project participants engaging in the proceses of sensemaking and the ways of approaching relational exchanges that would facilitate the process of sensemaking. On the basis of the theoretical discussion how projects are operated while being embedded in a context of networks of external participants we elaborated that for successful project performance management of project-based networks should play facilitating and supportive role of creating a framework enabling mindful behaviour and collaborative processes of problem-solving.

Research limitations/implications: Even this study highlights previously overlooked connections between literatures on relational exchanges and organizational sensemaking by giving attention to a diverse range of issues concerning project-based business networks, further research in this direction may be useful for deeper understanding of the processes. Firstly, the generalizability of the findings presented here remains to be tested. Secondly, the aspects influencing relational exchanges in short-term project setting identified here may not be exhaustive: they could be supplemented by the discovery of other aspects, perhaps through data collected from project setting of different type. Thirdly, although relational exchanges can vary in sense of communication and collaboration intensity, it was outside the scope of this study to address the issue at this level of analysis. Despite these limitations, this study has made an attempt to draw up the findings that may have some implications for both research and practice.

Value of research: As revealed in our study, a set of management incentives may help in creating a positive environment for efficient communication and collaboration within a project. It suggests that management incentives should try to organize a trust like environment that will provide much of incentive for partners to work together non-opportunistically during their relational exchanges and much of the assurance necessary for exchange partners to feel comfortable with this arrangement. The results of the study clearly shows that applying management methods will help shortcut the process necessary to establish the working norms necessary for functional communication and collaboration between participants.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. , p. 97
Keywords [en]
project-based networks, short-term relationships, communication, collaboration, sensemaking, trust, interdependence, management incentives, coordination, support
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-242Archive number: E3BA: DiVA 104/07OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-242DiVA, id: diva2:119791
Uppsok
samhälle/juridik
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2007-12-21 Created: 2007-12-21

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