The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Inter-Organizational Relationships: The Evolution of Partnership Governance in Sales and Marketing Cooperation – a Case Study

Päivi T. Karjalainen

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management for public examination and debate in Auditorium TU1 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 5th of January, 2008, at 12 noon.

Dissertation in PDF format (ISBN 978-951-22-9124-3)   [950 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-951-22-9123-6)


The dissertation is a case study on how the governance of the sales and marketing partnership between a telecommunications services provider and an information technology equipment supplier evolved during a two-year research period. The research is based on rich process data collected alongside operational, practical day-to-day operations, and on thematic interviews from both partnering organizations.

The research data is organized into a case narrative, which is used in interpreting the events and development of the partnership governance as structure and management through four theoretical lenses. The research design is based on Alternate Templates Strategy (ATS) and the theories used are Theory of the Growth of the Firm, Resource Based View, Transaction Costs Economics and Stakeholder Theory. The theories are refined into theoretical lenses by forming distinct batteries of research questions that are systematically, one-by-one, applied in the analysis of the case narrative. Based on established interpretations and their combination, the final stage of the research process is generalization of the case-dependent argumentations into propositions.

The study provides understanding of partnership governance processes that affect the partnership performance and outcomes, as well as impact both the premises for and the development of the partnership. New insights to identifying and managing partnership's stakeholders; setting of joint, measurable goals; legitimateness building activities; sensemaking and communication of the partnership in relation to the partners' common history and current strategies or operations; as well as structuring the cooperation and facilitation of interactions between people, contribute to extant IOR literature. In addition, recommendations for partner managers provide suggestions for partnership governance in practice.

Moreover, the study contributes to the development of the ATS as a systematic process research approach and method.

Keywords: partnership management, alliance management, hybrid organizations, operational partnership, Alternate Templates Strategy, process research

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© 2008 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26