Exit Strategies in Interorganizational Collaboration: Setting the Stage for Re-Entry

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4 Scopus citations


Researchers have studied organizational exit primarily as a terminal process in which people engage in communication to manage and make sense of permanent closures of their relationships and membership. However, in interorganizational collaborations (IOCs), where individuals representing multiple organizations voluntarily come together and create a temporary alliance to address a shared problem, communication during the exit process can shape the collaborative partners’ post-exit relationships and future collaboration opportunities. To explore how such processes occur in the complex and dynamic environment of IOCs, this article develops a negotiated open process view of exit based on the Bona Fide Group Collaboration Model and presents a field study of IOCs in a regional planning context. Findings reveal three main strategies by which collaborative partners negotiated the open process of exit to secure their involvement in a future IOC. This article concludes with a discussion of implications for theorizing IOCs’ exit as part of a trajectory of ongoing collaborative relationships enacted by strategic communicative actions of collaborators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-873
Number of pages29
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


  • bona fide group perspective
  • exit
  • grounded theory
  • interorganizational collaboration
  • organizational communication


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