Collaborative relationships in New Zealand : an exploratory examination.
Thesis DisciplineBusiness Administration
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
There has been a substantial increase in the number and variety of collaborative relationships formed in recent years. The significance of collaborative relationships has resulted in an increased examination of their function and impact on the business environment. Despite the prevalence of collaborative activity and sustained academic and practitioner interest, high failure rates continue to be reported. This thesis is an exploratory study of collaborative relationships among New Zealand firms. The study focuses on improving our understanding of collaborative performance using a different methodological approach to those commonly reported in the literature. The purpose of this thesis is to develop theoretical insights into the area of collaborative performance. Decisions on design reflect the intention to capture managerial perspectives and remain open to new findings. This study follows an in-depth case-based design. Multiple sources of evidence are used to collect data for the 14 cases. Other salient features of this design are the use of theoretical sampling, inclusion of multiple collaborative forms, interviewing more than one partner in the relationship and obtaining a biographical history of the collaboration. The compilation of a detailed case summary for each relationship precedes the cross-case analysis. Key themes emerging from this process are then discussed as theoretical insights. There is empirical evidence to suggest that relationships with formal agreements are more likely to achieve relationship objectives. Formal agreements contribute to a clear focus, assist the conflict resolution process and encourage shared values and solidarity. Other such insights are detailed regarding relational variables, mutual partner assessments and the ability of global strategy to undermine collaborations at the local level. The ability of alliances in building firm resources, adaptability to environmental conditions and the issue of collaborating with competitors are also presented as additional observations. The theoretical insights highlighted in this study provide the basis for future research. They are presented as propositions in Chapter 7.