Organization Studies Tilburg University

Research Topic Group: Networks and Temporary Organizations

Organizations are increasingly embedded in a complex array of inter-organizational relations (e.g. buyer-supplier, alliances, joint ventures, project and problem solving networks) using a diverse set of governance mechanisms and varying time horizons.

Scholars in the Networks and Temporary Organizations topic group investigate why, when and how organizations form inter-organizational relations as adaptive responses, select different types of governance mechanisms to manage those relations, and set varying time horizons for such relationships and networks.  Scholars also examine the consequences of such relations and networks for the various stakeholders and organizations involved as well as the larger communities they are embedded in.

Extended description

Networks of inter-organizational relations are a ubiquitous phenomenon. There is a growing consensus in the literature that an organization's involvement in inter-organizational collaborative relationships matters for its performance. While research on inter-organizational relations has initially focused on the questions 'why' and 'when' such relations are formed, our current research agenda focuses on the origins and evolution of networks, goal-directed 'whole' networks, governance and effectiveness of networks, distrust in networks, the role of geographical distance, inclusion of nodal properties ('partner attributes'), entrepreneurship and (radical) innovation in networks, and the importance of relationships and networks for dealing with grand challenges.

Over the last decade, one particular type of inter-organizational relationships, namely inter-organizational project networks or temporary organizations, has received the attention of management practitioners and academic scholars alike. This type of inter-organizational network includes participants on a temporary basis for the completion of a specific task involving the identification of a business opportunity and the entrepreneurial creation of a collaborative venture to exploit it. Prior research highlighted the potential adaptive advantages of these ventures, however much of the intricacies of these ventures remain unexplored and undocumented.

The pervasiveness of such relations and their uncharted domain were the impetus for supplementing our research agenda with topics focusing on inter-organizational project network or temporary organizations.

These topics include: (1) describing and explaining temporal and sectoral variations in the prevalence of temporary project networks; (2) unpacking the role of time in such networks; (3) examining relations between temporary project networks and permanent organizations; (4) understanding the risks and uncertainty involved in establishing and managing such networks; (5) investigating the interplay between the formal and informal governance mechanisms of networks.

Recent exemplary publications

  • Mannak, R.; Meeus, M.; Raab, J.; Smit, A. (2019) A temporal perspective on repeated ties across university-industry R&D consortia. Research Policy, 48(9): 1-9.  
  • Oliveira, N. & Lumineau, F. (2019). The dark side of interorganizational relationships: An integrative review and research agenda.  Journal of Management, 45(1): 231-261. 
  • Rutten, R. (2019). Openness values and regional innovation: a set-analysis. Journal of Economic Geography, 19(6): 1211–1232,
  • Angeli, F., Raab, J., and Oerlemans, L. (2020), "Adaptive responses to performance gaps in project networks", Braun, T. and Lampel, J. (Ed.) Tensions and paradoxes in temporary organizing (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 67), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 153-178.
  • Castaner, X.; Oliveira, N. (2020). Collaboration, coordination & cooperation between organizations: Establishing the distinctive meanings of these terms through a systematic literature review’. In: Journal of Management , 46(6): 965–1001.
  • Krijkamp, A; Knoben, J., Oerlemans, L., Leenders R. (2021). An ace in the hole. The effects of (in)accurately observed structural holes on organizational reputation positions in whole networks. In: Journal of Business Research (129: 703-713).