INTERORGANIZATIONAL DECISION MAKING AND IDENTITY CONFLICT.
Special technical rept. no. 2,
HARVARD UNIV CAMBRIDGE MASS GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
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The paper focuses on interorganizational relations, using illustrations from interagency ventures in foreign affairs and in the urban field. Two decision processes, problem solving and bargaining, are instrumental to the formal purposes of the relationship. Two social processes, identity reinforcement and identity conflict, are expressive of the way parties view themselves, compared with how they are viewed by each other. The paper conceptualizes relationships with different mixtures of these four processes. It hypothesizes the effect of each process on each of the other three processes and indicates conditions which minimize these effects. Thus each organization and its members are often keenly interested in establishing or maintaining some preferred organizational identity and these identity concerns complicate decision making. If the preferred identities are compatible, the parties are better able to exploit the integrative potential which inheres in their respective goals and resource pools. If the preferred identities conflict, the parties are not only less effective at problem solving but also their bargaining is more likely to result in miscalculations, impasses and default outcomes. Identity concerns also contribute to a tendency for organizations to avoid interdependency and for their representatives to deliberately defeat the very joint decision processes to which they are participants.
- Administration and Management
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