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The past in play: tradition in the structures of collaboration

Hibbert, Paul and Huxham, Chris (2010) The past in play: tradition in the structures of collaboration. Organization Studies, 31 (5). pp. 525-554. ISSN 0170-8406

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Inter-organizational collaboration has been argued to present as many complex challenges as it tries to solve. In this paper, we explore the role of tradition in these challenging and problematic contexts. In particular, we are concerned with the ways in which traditions emerge, endure of change in relationship with (an in the context of) collaborative structures. Our research in three collaborative situations indicates that traditions can be found at work in collatoration at a range of temporal depths amongst overlapping groups, networks and societal structures. Through the characterization of the different temporal depths of traditins and their relationship to collaborative structures, this paper develops a theory role of the role of tradition in collaboration. In particular, through drawing out the effects of the different forms of tradition in collaborative network structures, this study also yields insights for the theory and practice of interorganizational collaboration.