Managing tensions in coopetition

post by : jasmin.eiholzer

In each business relationship that involves cooperation and competition are tensions involved. There are different types of tensions which generally represent a negative side of business relationships. Possible tensions such as roles, knowledge, power and dependence and opportunism are related to conflicts and are therefore somehow the outcome of e specific type of relationship. One of these types is role tension, this tension can be a result of different aims of the organisations and the cooperation in addition to the role tension knowledge can be a tension because it can be a source of competitive advantage and therefore add value to an organisation. However, knowledge sharing can have synergy effects, but it is important to set some rules in order to find the right balance between what to share and what to keep secret. Power and dependence which is often has a relation to the size and the influence of a firm are also a category of tensions. Another type of tension is opportunism which is defined by a shift of interests from an egoistic to a more collective behaviour. Different models of conflict management are acknowledged, the most often used model from Thomas and Kilmann (1974) has five handling styles named as; competition, collaboration, compromise, avoidance and accommodation. It’s said that trust can reduce possible tension and therefore can have a positive effect on a business relationship. Furthermore, is the management of tension coupled with the outcome of them. This outcome can be positive, mixed or negative. Which means that it is possible that both are sufficient with the outcome, only one party is content with it, or both are insufficient. In the nature of business relationships is the mixed outcome the most common, normally if there is a negative outcome there will not be a future collaboration between those two business partners. Although tensions are expected negative they can have a positive effect but never the less we ned to adapt our knowledge to attempt a positive outcome.