Sleeping with the enemy: Trust, dependence and contract in interorganisational relationships

R.J.A. Klein Woolthuis

    Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT


    'Sleeping with the enemy' refers to the fragile relationship that is built when parties have to cooperate without knowing whether their partner can be trusted. In the development of new products or technologies companies often have to establish such relationships. They depend on each other's knowledge and capacity, they have to be open, share information, and give insights into their way of working. In line with the sense of becoming partners and creating something new together, inventors and engineers often talk about 'a marriage' when referring to their relationship, and to 'their baby' when referring to the joint project.There are, however, situations where parties have to cooperate with their enemies. If they know this, they can try to protect themselves by withholding information, drawing up extensive contracts or, for example, by establishing a joint venture. In most cases though, parties are not sure whether their partner is, or will ever become, their enemy. Will he keep information confidential, will he not run off just when you need him most, will he share costs and benefits fairly and not try to reap disproportionate gains, will he not become your competitor with the knowledge you gave him?These questions can never be answered with certainty. Doubts will always exist. To cope with this, people search for ways to reduce uncertainty. Contracts can be a means to this end, but trust is just as essential to enable open and constructive cooperation and problem solving. How trust, dependence and contracts are related to each other, and how they influence the success of high technology interorganisational relationships, are the focus of this thesis.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Twente
    • During, W.E., Supervisor
    • Nooteboom, B., Supervisor, External person
    • Groen, Aard, Co-Supervisor
    Award date27 Aug 1999
    Place of PublicationEnschede
    Print ISBNs90-365-1333-8
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 1999


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