Published in: Journal of Business Ethics.
Cited as: Savarese, C., B. Huybrechts and M. Hudon (2020). “The Influence of Interorganizational Collaboration on Logic Conciliation and Tensions Within Hybrid Organizations: Insights from Social Enterprise–Corporate Collaborations.” Journal of Business Ethics.
An increasing amount of research has examined the management of competing logics, and possible tensions arising between them, within “hybrid organizations.” However, the ways in which the relationships of hybrids with other organizations shape the conciliation of these logics and tensions have received limited attention so far. In this theoretical paper, we examine how hybrid organizations deal with interorganizational collaboration, in particular whether and how their hybridity can be maintained when they partner with “dominant-logic organizations.” Drawing on empirical literature on social enterprise–corporate collaborations, we develop a framework and several propositions on how competing logics and their balancing within hybrid organizations may be affected by interactions with organizations underpinned by one dominant logic. We suggest that influences will mostly depend on the type of collaboration pursued. A collaboration based on a lower level of engagement and interaction between the two partners is likely to give precedence to one logic over the other, reducing inter-logic tensions but possibly compromising organizational hybridity. By contrast, a collaboration featuring numerous interactions and mission compatibility may facilitate sustained hybridity if tensions are acknowledged and managed. Our propositions contribute to the literatures on hybrid organizations, interorganizational collaboration, and social enterprise.
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1. This framework aimed to be applicable to different types of collaboration involving hybrid organizations. Here, they focused on the partnerships between social enterprises and government (public sector). Future work might use our framework and refine it based on this new context, in which dominant-logic organizations (in this case public sector agencies) evolve toward collaboration modes that hinge on plural logics — typically, reaching social welfare objectives through a mix of state-based and market-oriented modes of action.
2. It would be particularly interesting to examine the implications of this trend for the hybridity of social enterprises and other “third sector” organizations. For example, do social enterprises working with the public sector through these new “transactional” schemes experience an enhancement of their hybridity or, on the contrary, as our current framework and other authors would suggest, are they led to embrace an alternative logic (market or state) at the expense of their own social logic.
3. This study focused exclusively on bilateral collaborations involving one hybrid and one dominant-logic organization. Other multilateral collaborative dynamics do exist, involving one or several hybrid organizations together with one or several other actors like businesses, NGOs, governments and community organizations. For example examining how the configuration of logics and attendant tensions may vary according to types of actors involved.
4. Analysis took into account only two logics which, in an interorganizational relationship with a partner pursuing one dominant logic. Nevertheless, we are well aware that hybrid organizations may combine more than two logics; for example, cooperatives engaged in community-based renewable energy or nonprofit organizations may combine social, market, and state logics. Future research should pay more attention to interorganizational collaboration in the context of plural (not just dual) logics.
5. Finally, the impact of interorganizational collaboration is likely to depend on its relevance for the activities of the hybrid organization. The more marginal the collaboration, the weaker its impact on the activities of the hybrid organization, and thus the weaker its influence on logic configuration and inter-logic tensions. Therefore, future research could explore to what extent the relationships proposed here vary according to the significance of the collaboration for the activities of the hybrid organization.
6. Another interesting research avenue would be to examine the interdependence between different collaborations with different partners (whether dominant-logic or not) in the context of “collaboration portfolios” (Gutiérrez et al. 2016) and their joint influence on inter-logic configuration and tensions.
7. Finally, comparative empirical studies could help define how collaboration interacts with other factors in shaping logic configuration and tensions within hybrid organizations.