Data-induced Rationality and Unitary Spaces in Interfirm Collaboration

Katharina Cepa, Henri Schildt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
127 Downloads (Pure)


The real-time data transfer between collaborating companies allows them to represent and control activities across firm boundaries, providing new ways to organize collaborative efforts. We conducted an inductive multiple case study of five long-term relationships to examine the effects of data-intensive technologies on the organization and management of collaborative relationships in industrial companies. Our analysis shows how the delegation of digital activities into specialized digital units fostered data-driven mindsets and data-driven interactions that jointly formed a holistic data-induced rationality for managing the relationship. Together the compartmentalization of digital collaboration and the data-induced rationalities turned these units into “unitary spaces,” organizational enclosures where structural tensions and competing demands were temporarily suspended to foster single-minded pursuit of collaborative short-term benefits for the partner company.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-155
Number of pages27
JournalOrganization Science
Issue number1
Early online date25 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • digital technology
  • digital transformation
  • information technology
  • interorganizational collaboration
  • structural tensions
  • supplier-buyer relationships


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