Collaborative tensions: Practitioners' experiences of interorganizational relationships

Laurie Lewis, Matthew G. Isbell, Matt Koschmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Organizations and the relationships they create are rife with tensions that pull individual participants and whole organizations in opposing directions. When multiple organizations form relationships with one another these tensions may take on new forms and create new challenges for individual and organizational participants. This study utilized a focus-group methodology to explore how participants in collaborative interorganizational relationships (IORs) experience and cope communicatively with tensions. The data suggest that tensions exist across two areas: relationships and structures. We found that tensions in collaboration are common, acknowledged, and that the tensions manifest and are addressed through communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)460-479
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


  • Collaboration
  • Dialectical theory
  • Interorganizational relationships
  • Nonprofit organizations


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