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Paper info: Internal Organising in an Inter-Organisational Relationship Context: The Case of UKA & USIT


Internal Organising in an Inter-Organisational Relationship Context: The Case of UKA & USIT


Raymond McDowell & David Ford

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 17th IMP-conference in Oslo, Norway in 2001.


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It is recognised that business-to-business relationships involve individuals interacting overtime. For companies whose relationships are a source of concern (they may perceive thatthey could enable a greater competitive advantage to be leveraged, or may consider that theyare the reasons for poor performance), any attempts to manage their relationships will involvemanipulation of those interactions between individuals. This raises major organisationaldesign issues involving decisions about how a company should organise itself for relationshipmanagement. This paper reports on how a company has organised itself to handle itsrelationship with an important relationship counterpart. The relationship between thecompanies has been described as good by participants meaning that they consider itdemonstrates good performance and exhibits the appropriate levels and types ofcommunication, co-ordination, problem-solving, adaptation and negotiation.Using dimensions from the discipline of organisational behaviour, the paper considers thestructural design that effects (sic.) the interaction which this company maintains with itscounterpart. It is posited that these dimensions are a useful framework for decision-makingwithin an organisation concerned with managing relationships with counterparts; it is exactlythese structural levers that an organisation needs to pull in order to manage (plan, developand change) a relationship. Of course, while the effects of the levers upon an organisation'sinteraction are direct and relatively transparent, the nature of business-to-businessrelationships means that the organisation cannot be as circumspect with effects upon therelationship with a counterpart.