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Fragmenting WorkBlurring Organizational Boundaries and Disordering Hierarchies$
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Mick Marchington, Damien Grimshaw, Jill Rubery, and Hugh Wilmott

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199262236

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199262236.001.0001

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The Role of Boundary-Spanning Agents in Inter-Organizational Contracting

The Role of Boundary-Spanning Agents in Inter-Organizational Contracting

(p.135) 6 The Role of Boundary-Spanning Agents in Inter-Organizational Contracting
Fragmenting Work

Mick Marchington

Steven Vincent

Fang Lee Cooke

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the role that boundary-spanning agents play in the creation and maintenance of inter-organizational relations. Boundary-spanning agents are the people who are formally and informally responsible for maintaining the contract over time, and who interact with their opposite numbers in the client or supplier organization. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 6.2 reviews the nature and meaning of trust in the context of the work of boundary-spanners. Section 6.3 introduces the case studies that form the basis of the chapter as well as providing data on the types of people who fill the roles of boundary-spanning agents. The following two sections contain the bulk of the empirical data, and analyse the way in which boundary-spanners see (a) the development of close trusting relations with their counterparts in other organizations as critical for contracting to be effective (for their own organization); and (b) the maintenance of formality and distance as important to ensure that their own organization limits the risks and maximizes the advantages to be achieved from inter-organizational relations. Finally, the chapter discusses the implications of these findings for further research on the role of boundary-spanning agents.

Keywords:   client organization, close trusting relations, supplier organization, contracting

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