Data-Induced Rationality and Unitary Spaces in Interfirm Collaboration

Cepa, Katharina and Schildt, Henri (2023) Data-Induced Rationality and Unitary Spaces in Interfirm Collaboration. Organization Science, 34 (1). pp. 129-155. ISSN 1047-7039

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The real-time data transfer between collaborating companies allows them to represent and control activities across firm boundaries, providing new ways to organize collaborative efforts. We conducted an inductive multiple case study of five long-term relationships to examine the effects of data-intensive technologies on the organization and management of collaborative relationships in industrial companies. Our analysis shows how the delegation of digital activities into specialized digital units fostered data-driven mindsets and data-driven interactions that jointly formed a holistic data-induced rationality for managing the relationship. Together, the compartmentalization of digital collaboration and the data-induced rationalities turned these units into “unitary spaces,” organizational enclosures where structural tensions and competing demands were temporarily suspended to foster single-minded pursuit of collaborative short-term benefits for the partner company.

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Journal Article
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Organization Science
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20 Feb 2023 16:05
Last Modified:
21 Feb 2023 03:25