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The Coexistence of Competition and Cooperation between Networks: Implications from Two Taiwanese Healthcare Networks

By T A Peng and Mike Bourne


The issue of coopetition, the coexistence of cooperation and competition, has recently come to the fore in the strategic management field. Previous coopetition research has focused on the intra-organizational level, inter- organizational level and triad level, but less attention has been paid to coopetition at the network level. The purpose of this paper is to address the coexistence of competition and cooperation between networks, and to depict how networks with different structures interact with each other. Drawing from a detailed case study of two healthcare networks in Taiwan, we demonstrate how they first initiated competition, followed by cooperation and then coopetition. From our analysis of this example of network coopetition, we develop three propositions that address the forces driving competition and cooperation and the different structures that allow competition and cooperation to coexist. We found that two organizations will compete and cooperate simultaneously when each organization has complementary but distinctly different sets of resources and when the field of competition is distinctly separate from the field of cooperation. In addition, two networks will find it easier to balance competition and cooperation when each network has compatible but distinctly different structures. We argue that the simultaneous existence of cooperation and competition is not dependent on closeness to the customer, as previously suggested in the literature, but on the balance between the forces for cooperation and for competition. We suggest from this research that networks can maintain the balance between competition and cooperation when they act using different structures. Finally, we discuss the implications of the value of competition and then coopetition at multiple levels of analysis and the implications for future research from a practical perspective

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1467-8551.2008.00565.x
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES
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