Evaluating Inter‐organizational Relationships

Keith G. Provan and Jörg Sydow

in The Oxford Handbook of Inter-Organizational Relations

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780199282944
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

Evaluating Inter‐organizational Relationships

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  • Business and Management
  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour
  • Business Strategy



Despite the prevalence of inter-organizational relationships (IORs) in organizational life and despite the vast amount of research that has been conducted on the topic, there is considerable confusion over exactly what outcomes are actually achieved. One major reason for this confusion is simply that evaluation is complex. It is difficult to determine with any precision what specific outcomes result from an IOR and what outcomes might have occurred in the absence of an IOR. This article presents a general discussion of the rationale for evaluation, and then discusses and categorizes the various ways in which IORs have been evaluated over the years so that researchers, and also practitioners, will be able to address the important issue of evaluation in a more systematic way. Finally, it concludes with a discussion of the evaluation process, and how it might best be managed in light of current trends towards a collaborative approach to evaluation and the obvious path dependencies of evaluative practices.

Keywords: inter-organizational relationships; organizational life; research; evaluation process; collaborative approach

Article.  10849 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Business Strategy

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