Collaborative business partnerships have been on the rise around the world over the last three decades. There is a growing interest in understanding the best ways of structuring and coordinating these entities. Some researchers have viewed partnership functioning in terms of an ideal set of attributes such as those characterized by trust or collaboration. Yet, partnership structure and dynamics change over time in response to both external and internal factors. This presentation describes a series of collaborative corporate partnerships in which General Motors has been engaged since the mid 1990s. Five such arrangements were investigated from the perspective of the partnership participants; a mixed-methods approach (i.e., interviews, surveys, documents, validation sessions) was employed. Key findings are presented related to the
- function of reciprocity in establishing and maintaining partnering relationships
- interplay between market exchange and reciprocity
- emergence of a partnership life cycle
- conflict associated with the partnership, and
- formal and informal roles that hold the partnership together.
A model of partnership dynamics and structure was developed and tested based on this research. The model can be used to diagnose and predict issues faced by collaborative corporate partnerships.
Elizabeth K. Briody, Ph.D. is Founder and Principal of Cultural Keys LLC, a firm that helps companies and nonprofits understand and address organizational and cultural-change issues. Briody has helped clients in many industries, including those at General Motors where she worked for 24 years. Her most recent books include her award-winning Transforming Culture with Robert T. Trotter II and Tracy L. Meewarth (2014) and The Cultural Dimension of Global Business with Gary P. Ferraro (2013). She is currently serving on the Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association.
*Light refreshments will be served at 2:30pm
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