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A transmutation theory of inter-organizational exchange relations and networks: Applying critical realism to analysis of collective agency

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Steve Vincent

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Abstract

This article outlines a critical realist approach to inter-organizational relations and networks. It reviews existing criticisms of the main theoretical contributions within this substantive topic area and argues that most have explained outcomes by referring to the structural antecedents that condition the different contexts which actors behave within. This downplays the impact of social processes and how these are shaped by the behavioural orientations of actors within these structures. Critical realism can be used to address this limitation. It provides a perspective on agency and social process that facilitates sophisticated analyses of the behavioural orientations of actors and how these combine to condition processes and outcomes. A three-step approach to analysing inter-organizational relations and networks is outlined and case study data are used in the effort to demonstrate that this approach is less susceptible to the existing criticisms of the field.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Vincent S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Human Relations

Year: 2008

Volume: 61

Issue: 6

Pages: 875-899

ISSN (print): 0018-7267

ISSN (electronic): 1741-282X

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018726708092408

DOI: 10.1177/0018726708092408


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