Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Relations between organizations are vital for firms and their strategies. A common approach organizes interorganizational relationships into competition, cooperation, and coopetition. To contribute to this research, in this dissertation I focused on how managers interpret competitive, cooperative, and coopetitive relations with other organizations. Specifically, I studied managers’ interpretations of the characteristics of their interorganizational field and relationships, how they identify their competitors and cooperators, and their accounts of the practices and aspects involved in the planning and implementation of competitive, cooperative, and coopetitive relations. To capture managers’ interpretations, in this study I chose a grounded theory approach, selected the seafood processing industry in a Southern US state as the empirical setting, and interviewed the executives of seafood processors and representatives of other key organizations in this context. My findings capture the characteristics of the interorganizational field and relationships between organizations; the aspects that managers identify as key to making decisions regarding the classification of cooperators and competitors; and the aspects that managers’ interpret to be important for competition, cooperation, and coopetition. In doing so, the findings of my study contribute to research on interorganizational relationships by studying how managers’ interpretations of the interorganizational field and its characteristics shape relations with other organizations. Moreover, my findings contribute to this research by exploring the characteristics of interorganizational relations and the way managers make decisions and the aspects and practices they interpret to be important for competitive, cooperative, and coopetitive relationships with certain other organizations. I conclude the dissertation with a discussion of these contributions to the literature on interorganizational relationships, areas for future research, and the limitations of the study.



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Committee Chair

Greckhamer, Thomas



Included in

Business Commons