Network orchestration in a large inter-organizational project

Jens K. Roehrich, Jas Kalra, Brian Squire, Andrew Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Multiple organizations working jointly on shared activities in inter-organizational projects for a defined period of time are used increasingly to coordinate the supply of complex products, subsystems, and services across many industries. Despite the growth in inter-organizational networks as an organizational form, scholars have only recently begun to identify how lead organizations orchestrate the coordination of multiple parties with disparate goals, responsibilities, and capabilities. Prior work offers limited insights into the choice of network governance forms, and how coordination is undertaken by the network orchestrator to govern these networks. We conducted a longitudinal study of four networks to deliver vital services into a large project. We identified how the choice of network governance form was based on task complexity. A shared governance form was chosen for networks developed to deliver routine services, whereas a lead organization governance form was chosen for networks set up to deliver complex services. However, findings showed that the selection of an appropriate governance form was not sufficient for ensuring high performance. The network orchestrator’s mode of coordination (formal or informal), the intensity of coordination (active or passive), and fit with the form of governance form (shared or lead organization governed) was important in driving performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1078-1099
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The authors are very grateful for the insightful guidance provided by Departmental Editor Anant Mishra throughout the revision process, and for the feedback given by three anonymous reviewers. This article has hugely benefited from input received at Aarhus University, Copenhagen Business School, Imperial College London, and Warwick Business School, as well as feedback received at the Academy of Management conference. We would also like to thank all interviewees and organizations involved in this research study for their support. We particularly would like to thank managers and directors at Atom Group for their kind support throughout the research phases. Publisher Copyright: © 2023 The Authors. Journal of Operations Management published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Association for Supply Chain Management, Inc.

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  • coordination
  • governance
  • large projects
  • lnter-organizational networks
  • longitudinal study
  • network orchestrator


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