Leadership in Interorganizational Networks: A Literature Review and Suggestions for Future Research
Article first published online: 22 NOV 2011
© 2011 The Author. International Journal of Management Reviews © 2011 British Academy of Management and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
International Journal of Management Reviews
Volume 14, Issue 4, pages 428–443, December 2012
How to Cite
Müller-Seitz, G. (2012), Leadership in Interorganizational Networks: A Literature Review and Suggestions for Future Research. International Journal of Management Reviews, 14: 428–443. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2370.2011.00324.x
Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 2009 EGOS Colloquium in Barcelona, Spain, at the 2009 Academy of Management Meeting in Chicago, USA, and at the 2010 EGOS Colloquium in Lisbon, Portugal. Furthermore, the author gratefully acknowledges the support of the Volkswagen Foundation for the project ‘Path-Creating Networks: Innovating Next Generation Lithography in Germany and the U.S.’ (AZ II/80 308) and the German Research Foundation for the project ‘Strategic Leadership in Heterarchical Networks’ (MU 3070/1-1). Moreover, I am grateful for Oswald Jones' constructive editorial guidance and to three anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments. Finally, I am particularly indebted to Jörg Sydow and Arnold Windeler for their continual, constructive advice and highly appreciated ‘heterarchic dialogue’, René Bakker for his part in our discussions on the crafting of this review as well as to Amalya Oliver for her inspiration.
- Issue published online: 1 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 22 NOV 2011
The present review is an investigation of the ways in which interorganizational networks coordinate their activities for the benefit of all parties. In this context ‘interorganizational networks’ consist of three or more separate, collaborating entities, and the question of their leadership has been well researched in a number of disciplines. Its interest to economic actors is growing. However, the findings of studies that have focused on leadership in such networks are somewhat incoherent. As demonstrated in the present review, this incoherence largely results from the consideration of different forms of network (e.g. hierarchical vs heterarchical), levels of analysis (e.g. organizational vs network), and terms used to describe the phenomena (e.g. governance or orchestration, quite apart from leadership). Against this background, the present review contributes to the body of knowledge on this topic in two main areas. First, the literature is reviewed in order to provide an overview of the key characteristics of forms of network and levels of analysis. Moreover, the view that leadership in such networks influences all members in order to ‘make things happen’ is suggested. Secondly, future avenues of research are identified in order to stimulate progress in this important area of study.