Organizations of Organizations – calling for cross-literature insights
Sanne Bor (Hanken School of Economics and Vaasa University)
Héloïse Berkowitz (CNRS UMR 5303, Toulouse School of Management-Research and Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals)
Organizations of organizations, such as meta-organizations, multi-partner alliances, consortia, trade associations, business associations, formalized networks, and coalitions, are an important phenomenon in contemporary society. They contribute, among other things, to the creation of standards, the self-steering of industries, sharing of R&D and other major costs, and coordination within and across sectors. These organizations exist in all domains and every single organization – firms, NGOs, universities – is a member of at least one other organization, in a form or another. More often than not, organizations belong to several different ones.
This widespread phenomenon has attracted attention in several literatures from organization studies to strategic management, resulting in a variety of terms being used. The phenomenon itself, i.e. the organization of organizations, however, is not the focus of any literature. This results in a fragmented conceptual understanding and independent, non-inclusive theory developments in silos (Cropper, Ebers, Huxham, & Ring, 2008, 2011). Berkowitz and Bor (2017) recently called for a collaborative effort to strengthen the theoretical basis for understanding these organizations by bringing together these different streams of literature. With this track, we aim to put this call into action.
While there is growing recognition of the features particular to these organizations (see e.g. Ahrne & Brunsson, 2005, 2008), we hope this track will bring new theoretical and practical insights about the consequences of such features. What do these features mean for key organization, administrative, management, political or sociological theories and meta-organization practice? Do they make a difference? If so, how? What empirical work supports this? Successful submissions to the track should explicitly discuss how the paper contributes to meta-organization theory and/or practice. A suggestive list of research questions includes:
- How do meta-organizations change over time and what are the causes of change?
- What are the implications of meta-organizations’ specific features on their organizational and managerial dynamics?
- How do meta-organizations and their members mobilize, acquire, combine and use resources and what are the consequences thereof?
- Which methods or processes of decision-making are used and how does this affect the meta-organization?
- How can we measure meta-organizations’ performance and what would be the antecedents of such performance?
- How may these organizations help to address major socio-environmental challenges such as climate change?
- How may these organizations facilitate industry or societal transitions to sustainability?
Naturally, other perspectives and topics related to meta-organizations are also considered. Further, at the review stage, papers with a less optimal fit to this particular mini track will be considered for inclusion at the main track of the Special Interest Group on Inter-Organizational Collaboration.
You can submit a full or developmental paper:
15th January: Paper submission opens
28th February: Paper submission closes
Find out more on: www.bam.ac.uk/bam2018
Ahrne, G., & Brunsson, N. (2005). Organizations and meta-organizations. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 21, 429–449.
Ahrne, G., & Brunsson, N. (2008). Meta-organizations. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Berkowitz, H., & Bor, S. (2017). Why Meta-Organizations Matter: A Response to Lawton et al. and Spillman. Journal of Management Inquiry, 1056492617712895.
Cropper, S., Ebers, M., Huxham, C., & Ring, P. S. (Eds.). (2008). The Oxford handbook of inter-organizational relations. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.
Cropper, S., Ebers, M., Huxham, C., & Ring, P. S. (2011). Packing more punch? Developing the field of inter-organisational relations. International Journal of Strategic Business Alliances, 2, 153–170.
CoP_BAM2018_IOC-SIG_Organizations of organizations