Inter-organisational contexts

I’ve already written about intra-organisational collaboration, which is all about individuals from different departments working collaboratively within an organisation.

Inter-organisational collaboration is about collaboration which spans organisational boundaries.

The B325 website says:

Inter-organisational collaboration refers to situations where individuals from one organisation work collaboratively with those from others, usually to achieve outputs which none of the organisations could achieve on their own.

There are lots of common words used to describe inter-organisational collaboration and inter-organisational collaborative relationships, including: alliance, federation, partnership, cooperation, one-stop-shop, bridging, outsourcing, franchising, working together, etc.

Interestingly, franchising is up there. Franchising is publicly recognised as one of the easiest ways to start a business, yet this notion seems to contradict with what Siv Vangen says about collaboration:

Collaboration … don’t do it unless you have to!
(Huxham and Vangen, 2005).

Inter-organisational collaboration is commonplace, and a taken-for-granted feature of organisational life. However, collaborative advantage is not always the outcome – perhaps even in franchising.

The organisation I currently work for has many inter-organisational collaborative arrangements, including outsourcing of desktop computer services to a national company called ComputaCentre, partial outsourcing of software development and testing services to an Indian company called TCS, use of contractors to meet resource spikes, and partnering with 3rd party service providers such as eWise, Alaric, and Authentify in order to support services provided to customers.

(Source: The Open University, 2012).

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