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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: July 2019

Part 3 - Networks and Other Social Relationships

  • Edited by Göran Ahrne, Uppsala Universitet, Sweden, Nils Brunsson, Uppsala Universitet, Sweden
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • pp 189-290


The objective of this chapter is to explore the potential of the partial-organization concept as applied to the analysis of inter-firm networks as a form of economic governance that is created, reproduced or transformed with the help of network management practices. Key insights that the partial-organization perspective can provide into the process and the outcome of organizing and managing inter-firm networks are discussed. Inter-firm networks are conceived as partial organization of more or less complete formal organizations. Under specific circumstances, inter-firm networks could even be considered, at least in some aspects, as being even more organized than organizations. With regard to insights into the dynamics of this organizational form the chapter argues that the concept of partial organization helps to understand the development of this form from initial market relationships as well as from hierarchical organizations