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Coopetition in Temporary Contexts: Examining Swift Trust and Swift Distrust in Humanitarian Operations

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
  • Sarah Schiffling
  • Claire Hannibal
  • Yiyi Fan
  • Matthew Tickle
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/11/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number9
Volume40
Number of pages25
Pages (from-to)1449-1473
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date19/06/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Purpose
By drawing on commitment-trust theory, we examine the role of swift trust and distrust in supporting coopetition under conditions of uncertainty and interdependence in the setting of humanitarian disaster relief organisations.

Design/methodology/approach
This paper presents findings from case studies of 18 international humanitarian relief organisations based on 48 interviews and the analysis of publicly available documents.

Findings
We find that both swift trust and swift distrust support coopetition. As coopetition is simultaneous cooperation and competition, in this study we show how swift trust and swift distrust also occur simultaneously in coopetitive contexts.

Research limitations/implications
Coopetition as a strategic choice is well-researched in the private sector, yet has received less attention in the nonprofit sector, particularly in contexts that are shaped by interdependence and uncertainty. We show the importance of swift trust and swift distrust in coopetitive relationships by drawing on commitment-trust theory.

Practical implications
In focusing on a competitive environment in which cooperation is essential, we find limited choice of coopetitive partners. Humanitarian relief organisations must often simply work with whichever other organisations are available. We highlight how trust and distrust are not opposite ends of a spectrum and detail how both contribute to coopetitive relationships.

Originality/value
Our findings contribute to commitment-trust theory by explaining the important role of distrust in forging coopetitive relationships. Furthermore, we contribute to prior work on coopetition by focusing on an uncertain and interdependent nonprofit environment.

Bibliographic note

This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.