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Inter-Organizational Contracts: A Preliminary Study

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Abstract

This paper will evaluate the importance of the studies of interorganizational contracts of how it affects our understanding of inter-organizational relations. Contracts are usually, from an empirical point of view, when they are written, the only actual and specific inter-organizational data basis existing. On the contrary, interviews with for example the individual parties respectively can not stand alone as an inter-organizational data basis. The problem with contracts is that they are not always used as according to the law (Macaulay, 1993), just as they are not always put down in writting. Therefore the paper will deal with the connection between inter-organizational relations and inter-organizational contracts. The paper will be based on a specific frame of reference of inter-organizational contracts (Wilke, 1994), in which we will try to conceptionalize the contract phenomenon in an inter-organizational context. In addition to this there are some empirical contract studies (Freytag, 1991), which together with the last mentioned frame of reference will be used as a basis of putting forward initial hypothesis concerning interorganizational relations and contracts. The paper will among other things characterized contracts by how open-ended they are, how exhaustive they are, how flexible they are, how unilateral they are and whether they are written or verbal. The contract will be regarded as the formal interorganizational structure.

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