Conflicts when Competitors Cooperate: Exploring Elements of Conflicts from a Business Network Perspective

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Title: Conflicts when Competitors Cooperate: Exploring Elements of Conflicts from a Business Network Perspective
Author: Tidström, Annika
Contributor: Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Department of Management and Organisation, Management and Organisation
Thesis level: Doctoral thesis
Belongs to series: Economics and Society - 163
ISSN: 0424-7256
ISBN: 951-555-932-4
Abstract: Most of the existing research within the business network approach is based on companies that are operating on different levels within the same value chain, as a buyer and a supplier. Intercompetitor cooperation, i.e. cooperation between companies occupying the same level within different value chains, has not been studied to the same extent. Moreover scholars within the business network approach have usually described industrial relationships as long term, consisting of mutual commitment and trust. Industrial relationships are not static, but dynamic, and they contain situations of both harmony and conflict. There is consequently a need for more research both concerning intercompetitor cooperation and conflicts.

The purpose of this study is to develop our theoretical and empirical understanding of the nature of conflicts in intercompetitor cooperation from a business network perspective. The focus of the study lies on issue and intensity of conflict. The issue of a conflict can be divided into cause and topic, while the intensity comprises the importance and outcome of a conflict. The empirical part of the study is based on two case studies of groups of cooperating competitors from two different industries. The applied research method is interviews.

According to the findings of this study causes of conflicts in intercompetitor cooperation can be divided into three groups: focus, awareness and capacity. Topics of conflict can be related to domain, delivery, advertising or cooperation. Moreover the findings show that conflict situations may be grouped into not important, important or very important. Some conflicts may also be of varying importance, meaning that the importance varies from one point of time to another. Based on the findings of the study the outcome or status of a conflict can be analyzed both on a concrete and general level. The findings also indicate that several conflicts are partly hidden, which means that only one or some of the involved actors perceive the conflict. Furthermore several conflict situations can be related to external network actors.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10227/62
URN:ISBN:951-555-932-4
Date: 2006-11-07
Copyright information: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.
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