Collaborative Tensions: Practitioners’ Experiences of Interorganizational Relationships

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

Communication Monographs


National Communication Association

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

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.