In a synthesis of recent advances, this article gives a fresh, balanced theory of inter-organizational relations. It integrates competence and governance perspectives. It considers the choice between mergers/acquisitions and alliances. It offers a toolbox of instruments to govern relational risk, and the contingencies for their selection. Relationships can last too long. Therefore, the article also looks at how to end relationships. Beyond dyads of collaborating firms, it includes effects of network structure and position.

collaboration, corporate governance, inter-firm alliances, inter-organizational relations, organizational behavior
Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior (jel L2), Firm Organization and Market Structure: Markets vs. Hierarchies; Vertical Integration; Conglomerates (jel L22), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M), Business Administration: General (jel M10)
Erasmus Research Institute of Management
ERIM Report Series Research in Management
Copyright 2002, B. Nooteboom, This report in the ERIM Report Series Research in Management is intended as a means to communicate the results of recent research to academic colleagues and other interested parties. All reports are considered as preliminary and subject to possibly major revisions. This applies equally to opinions expressed, theories developed, and data used. Therefore, comments and suggestions are welcome and should be directed to the authors.
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Nooteboom, B. (2002). A Balanced Theory of Sourcing, Collaboration and Networks (No. ERS-2002-24-ORG). ERIM Report Series Research in Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from