Antecedents and Tools for a systemic analysis of inter-organisational Networks

Author/s Valentina Pacetti, Angelo Pichierri
Publishing Year 2023 Issue 2022/2 Language Italian
Pages 29 P. 95-123 File size 302 KB
DOI 10.3280/SO2022-002004
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Organizational networks have acquired an increasing relevance in organisa-tional research and analysis. However, the theoretical and analytical equipment available to social scientists is neither defined nor unambiguous. This article aims to bring to the reader’s attention the explanatory potential of classical approaches, focussing on the analytical tools they still provide. Some of the most useful among analytical tools come from the general system theory and from the system analy-sis of organisations. The article proposes a brief overview of sociological theories and approaches that can be (and generally are) considered as antecedents of network analysis from a mainly sociological perspective: from organizational population ecology to the organization-set approach, from transaction costs economics to organizational neo-institutionalism. Special attention is paid to system thinking, which has been popular in organisational analysis since the early 1960s but was surprisingly aban-doned just as organisational networks were taking the stage. It is precisely within the systemic perspective that we find a number of analyt-ical tools, usually adopted to describe and explain traditional organizations, which seem to be especially effective for the analysis of inter-organizational networks (i.e. the discussion of organizational goals and boundaries, the idea of "loose cou-pling", and the organizational relais). The article aims to show the effectiveness of such tools for understanding the functioning of inter-organizational networks.

Keywords: Organizational Networks; Inter-Organizational Networks, General System Theory, loose coupling, organizational relais, organizational boundaries.

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Valentina Pacetti, Angelo Pichierri, Precedenti e strumenti: per un’analisi sistemica delle reti inter-organizzative in "STUDI ORGANIZZATIVI " 2/2022, pp 95-123, DOI: 10.3280/SO2022-002004