Paul Vlaar contends that strategic alliances and other forms of cooperation, such as buyer–supplier relationships, joint ventures and offshoring initiatives, increasingly stand at the basis of competitive advantage. Although contracts and trust play a crucial role in such relationships, prior studies on both governance solutions are generally confined to single theories, paradigms and viewpoints. Drawing on an in-depth case study, survey data and conceptual developments, the author advances a more integrative framework. He probes issues such as:
• the tension between the need and the ability to contract
• trust and contracts as co-evolving and self-reinforcing phenomena
• contractual functions other than coordination and control
• dialectical tensions stemming from contract application
• standardization of contracting practices.
By exploring these topics, the book offers novel perspectives on the role of trust in interorganizational relationships, shifting our attention and creation to the discovery of value by collaborating partners.