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Adm. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci8030042

(Un)bounding the Meta-Organization: Co-Evolution and Compositional Dynamics of a Health Partnership

1
Research Office, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Keele University, Newcastle ST5 5BG, UK
2
Department of Marketing, Hanken School of Economics, P.O. Box 479, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 May 2018 / Revised: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 24 July 2018 / Published: 3 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics of Interorganisational Collaborative Relationships)
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Abstract

In their treatise on meta-organization, Ahrne and Brunsson theorize a distinctive organizational form, the association of organizations. Meta-organizations have the properties of formal organizations—boundaries set by determinations of membership, goals, a centre of authority, and ways of monitoring and sanctioning member behaviors. The theory draws a strong distinction between meta-organizations and networks, suggesting that similarity among members is the primary characteristic of meta-organizations, whereas networks signify complementarity and difference. Meta-organizations serve and are governed by their members, though the meta-organization itself may develop its own agency and may regulate its members. It is on this basis that Ahrne and Brunsson develop an account of the dynamics of meta-organizations, placing less emphasis on external sources of change than on the internal relationships between members and the meta-organization itself. This paper appraises the theory of meta-organizations, using a case study of Partners in Paediatrics, a subscription association of health care organizations, as the empirical reference point. Data about this partnership’s membership and its activities are drawn from 12 ‘annual reports’ covering a 17-year period. Focusing, particularly, on the membership composition of the Partnership and its relationship to the changing environment, the case analysis traces the changing character and circumstances of the Partnership, identifying four distinct phases, and raising questions for meta-organization theory and its account of meta-organization dynamics. View Full-Text
Keywords: dynamics; boundaries; change; co-evolution; meta-organization; partnership; institutional environment; composition; membership; healthcare dynamics; boundaries; change; co-evolution; meta-organization; partnership; institutional environment; composition; membership; healthcare
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Cropper, S.; Bor, S. (Un)bounding the Meta-Organization: Co-Evolution and Compositional Dynamics of a Health Partnership. Adm. Sci. 2018, 8, 42.

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