African Journal of
Business Management

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Bus. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1993-8233
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJBM
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 4193

Full Length Research Paper

How to classify the types of inter-organizational relationships in manufacturing firms

Jong-Min Choe
School of Business, Kyungpook National University, Buk-ku Sankyuk-dong 1370, Taegu 702-701, South Korea. 
Email: [email protected]. Tel:

  •  Accepted: 05 May 2011
  •  Published: 04 August 2011


This study empirically examined the relationships among types of inter-organizational relationships (IORs), degrees of inter-organizational learning, trust and collaboration, and appropriate forms of IORs control devices in manufacturing firms. Based on the usage levels of inter-organizational information systems (IOSs) and traditional communication media (TCM) as well as the amount of transaction and management information exchanged between trading partners, the four types of IORs that have been suggested in the research of Choe (2008) were identified. The four types were: traditional market relationships, electronic links, strategic alliances, and virtual organizations. The results of cluster analyses represented the forms of IORs that may be similar to the four types of IORs. According to the results of this study, it was found that the levels of inter-organizational learning, trust and cooperation in electronic links are significantly higher than those in traditional market relationships. However, it was incompletely demonstrated that the degrees of inter-organizational learning, trust and collaboration in virtual organizations are significantly higher than those in strategic alliances. The results also showed that the output and behavior control devices are more utilized in electronic links or virtual organizations than in traditional links or strategic alliances.


Key words: Inter-organizational relationships (IORs), electronic IORs, control mechanisms, inter-organizational information systems, traditional communication media.