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The cost management and control of inter-organisational relationships: a case from the Greek shipping industry

Glyptis, Loukas G. (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Inter-organisational cost management and control (IOCM and control) is generally defined as a means whereby independent organisations protect their interests and coordinate resources to create value from their inter-organisational relationships (IORs). While research in IOCM and control has been informed by a variety of theoretical perspectives, there is little which has employed structuration theory (examples are Free, 2008; Seal et al., 2004; Sydow & Windeler, 1998). Here, it is argued that Rob Stones’ recent work is a development of the theory which shows good promise for research in this area. A field study at a Greek shipping organisation reveals the processes and dynamics of IOCM and control in practice. Despite public proclamations of long-term relationships with suppliers and buyers, the research uncovered a network of asymmetrically dependent relationships, which produced and reproduced predominantly arm’s-length practices. Distrust and paternalism within the organisation spilled over to the management of its inter-organisational domain, while the structural influences of environmental institutions reinforced organisational agents’ perspectives of IOCM and control and limited consideration of alternatives. Finally, this study argues that the notion of multiple and overlapping social systems as well as of learning and change can emphasise a role for certain theoretical constructs to implicate the skilful deployment of resources, which is central to economic phenomena. Such constructs refer to dialectics of control, path dependency, isomorphism, contradiction and praxis. It is proposed that future research in IOCM and control employing Stones’ version of structuration, would benefit from explicit use of these constructs.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Coad, Alan
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Birmingham Business School
Subjects:HF Commerce
HG Finance
HE Transportation and Communications
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1323
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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