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date: 30 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses inter-organizational relationships (IORs) in the wider context of chains and networks of organizations. It distinguishes between IORs, chains, and networks and subsets of those, perceived through different disciplinary lenses. Different lenses lead researchers to operate at different units of analysis within relationships, chains, and networks. For example, a sociological focus gives rise to researchers observing social connections. An economic focus leads to observations of economic exchanges between organizations conceptualized as economic entities. A strategic management focus leads the researcher to observe strategic configurations and positions. These different units of analysis represent different types of relationship, chain, and network and require different methodologies, methods, and techniques to research them. In particular, this article uses an operations and supply lens to observe supply relationships, chains, and networks.

Keywords: inter-organizational relationships, networks, organizations, social connections, economic entities

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