Differences in dialogue: The voices we hear in interorganizational collaboration

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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This dissertation offers subjective insider accounts, momentary snapshots, processual sketches, and bottom-up theoretical insights into how differences are in dialogue—of how different voices converse—in interorganizational collaboration.

Chapter I outlines interorganizational collaboration’s particular characteristics, possibilities, and complications, the research assumptions and theoretical perspectives that orient this work, and the study’s empirical setting. Drawing on in-depth interpretative interviews and adopting ideas from sensemaking, Chapter II unpacks the differences that make a difference in interorganizational collaboration, including collaborators’ subjective and interpretative practices of making sense of them. Chapter III then develops the notion of ventriloquism (Cooren, 2010a) into a methodological framework. This framework aids in identifying the various voices that become expressed in interactions and in analyzing voices’ performative effects on organizing processes and practices.

Chapters IV and V apply the ventriloquial analytical framework to longitudinally study critical processes of interorganizational collaboration, drawing mainly on video-recorded team meetings. Specifically, Chapter IV scrutinizes the many voices that partake in an interorganizational team’s strategy coauthoring process. It illustrates how some voices are heard and integrated into what an interorganizational collective works on while others are silenced and excluded from the strategy. Chapter V reports how a visual artifact can both facilitate and thwart team members’ communication and collaboration across and around the boundaries of their group. It shows how collaborators can make present their organizations’ voices through the visual in ways that either permeate or uphold organizational distinctions. Furthermore, it illustrates how the visual can inspire team members to figuratively look in the same direction, but also how this shared perspective can quickly diminish when new members join.

Chapter VI, the final chapter, discusses the overarching conclusions of this work, reflects on this research, derives several core practical implications, and sketches a provisional agenda for future endeavors. Altogether, these efforts and exercises then provide novel, nuanced, and more complete answers to the following two main questions:

What differences make a difference—whose voices do we hear—in interorganizational collaboration? How do these voices shape and constitute how work unfolds and organizing is accomplished?
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Endedijk, Maaike, Supervisor
  • van Vuuren, Mark, Co-Supervisor
Award date28 Sept 2022
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-5381-0
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2022


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