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Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2466; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072466

In Search of Network Sustainability: A Multi-Level Perspective on the Paradox of Cooperation and Competition in Networks

Department of Human Resources Management, University of Economics Katowice, 40-287 Katowice, Poland
Received: 27 May 2018 / Revised: 28 June 2018 / Accepted: 9 July 2018 / Published: 13 July 2018
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Abstract

Although all types of public collaborative networks are aimed towards taking joint actions, relations between partner organizations are not always so explicit. Referring to the dialectic approach, it may be concluded that a number of tensions are identifiable in networks, among them tension between cooperation and competition. Understanding the tensions that exist in inter-organizational networks is vital for a proper comprehension of networks, as continuous efforts to meet multiple, divergent demands should bring about long–term sustainability. To examine the phenomena of cooperation and competition in interorganizational networks, a quantitative study on local partnerships among Social Welfare Centers and other public institutions and non-profit institutions was conducted. Using a multi-level perspective, the research introduces orientation towards both cooperation and competition at different levels of analysis and examines the tensions between them. The results of this research show that there is a mutual influence of orientation towards competition/cooperation, both at the individual level and the network level, and that there is a mutual influence of the reconciliation of the contradictions between orientation towards cooperation and orientation towards competition both at the individual level and the network level. View Full-Text
Keywords: public collaborative networks; multilevel research; trust; cooperation; competition; paradoxes public collaborative networks; multilevel research; trust; cooperation; competition; paradoxes
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Austen, A. In Search of Network Sustainability: A Multi-Level Perspective on the Paradox of Cooperation and Competition in Networks. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2466.

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