Inter-Organizational Relationships

Towards a Dynamic Model for Understanding Business Network Performance

  • Cecilia Rossignoli
  • Francesca Ricciardi

Part of the Contributions to Management Science book series (MANAGEMENT SC.)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Cecilia Rossignoli, Francesca Ricciardi
    Pages 1-4
  3. Extant Theories Explaining Inter-Organizational Relationships

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 5-5
    2. Cecilia Rossignoli, Francesca Ricciardi
      Pages 37-58
  4. The Literature on Virtual Organizations, Electronic Mediators and e-Marketplaces

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 75-75
    2. Cecilia Rossignoli, Francesca Ricciardi
      Pages 97-115
  5. A Single Theory Is Not Enough: Understanding the Dynamism of Inter-Organizational Relationships

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 117-117
    2. Cecilia Rossignoli, Francesca Ricciardi
      Pages 119-143
    3. Cecilia Rossignoli, Francesca Ricciardi
      Pages 145-162

About this book


This book explores the premise that organizations are significantly influenced by their inter-organizational relationships; moreover, these relationships may generate important externalities, both positive and negative, impacting the environment at several levels. The advent of the Internet era, on the other hand, has resulted in disruptive changes in traditional inter-organizational networks, and some completely new inter-organizational settings are now arising.

In its first part the book reviews the most commonly cited theories explaining inter-organizational phenomena: transaction costs economics, agency theory, resource dependence theory, game theories, collaborative networks theory, institutional theories, organizational ecology, resource-based / relational-based view of the firm, and knowledge network / social network theories. In Part II it thoroughly reviews the literature on a number of key IT-enabled inter-organizational systems currently on the rise, such as virtual organizations, e-intermediators and e-marketplaces.

Lastly, Part III presents the case of the Yoox Group, a leading firm offering e-commerce services for fashion and design products. A framework is proposed for systematically linking the different possible types of inter-organizational relationships to specific, suitable sets of theories. The range of possible inter-organizational relationships is described on the basis of three pairs of opposites: conformism-breach, exploitation-exploration, and cooperation-competition. This results in a model that makes it possible to combine different theories in order to study the effects of inter-organizational ambidexterity and dynamism on performance.


Business network Electronic markets Inter-organizational networks Organizational change Organizational theory Participative networks Strategic model e-intermediaries

Authors and affiliations

  • Cecilia Rossignoli
    • 1
  • Francesca Ricciardi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Business AdministrationUniversity of VeronaVeronaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Business AdministrationUniversity of VeronaItaly

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Chemical Manufacturing
IT & Software
Consumer Packaged Goods
Finance, Business & Banking