G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Inter-organizational mediums: current state and underlying potential

Open Access publication

LUT Authors / Editors

Publication Details
Authors: Ylä-Kujala Antti
Publishing place: Lappeenranta
Publication year: 2018
Language: English
Related Journal or Series Information: Acta Universitatis Lappeenrantaensis
Number of article: 4
ISBN: 978-952-335-290-2
eISBN: 978-952-335-291-9
ISSN: 1456-4491
JUFO-Level of this publication:
Permanent website address: http://lutpub.lut.fi/handle/10024/158761
Open Access: Open Access publication
Location of the parallel saved publication: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-335-291-9


The rise of outsourcing has revised inter-organizational relationships in conventional manufacturing industries. Transaction-oriented exchanges have been superseded by relational purchasing, where customers transfer production activities and related competencies to selected key suppliers. There are also customers who see industrial maintenance as a non-core competency that can be outsourced to external service providers. When suppliers and service providers adopt these new responsibilities, customers lose control in two managerial domains, cost management and asset management. One way for managing costs and assets is using inter-organizational mediums, which are tools, models, techniques, approaches, methods, technologies, and systems that intermediate relationships between and among organizations. The inter-organizational medium is a completely new concept created for the purposes of this thesis, as the literature where these mediums have been discussed previously is unclear and fragmented at best. The research objective is therefore to map the current state and underlying potential of inter-organizational mediums in cost management and asset management contexts. The thesis consists of four individual publications that apply different research methods, including cluster analysis, factor analysis, (qualitative) content analysis, case studies, and design science research. The findings suggest that inter-organizational mediums in the cost management context
are currently utilized by 7 % of companies. The underlying potential is significantly higher, as the joint cost management orientation was recognized in nearly 40 % of companies belonging to two groups, ‘the trustful’ and ‘the trailblazers’. Empirical examples of inter-organizational mediums in the asset management context are few in number. To address this shortcoming, it is demonstrated in the thesis how organizations can attain benefits with these kinds of mediums on both operational and strategic levels of asset management, granted that there is willingness to disclose information across organizational boundaries. The intermediating role of asset technologies, the Internet of Things in particular, which improves organizations’ ability to disclose information, is highlighted. An implementation framework for different kinds of inter-organizational mediums is proposed. The thesis provides also novel insights into the conceptual and contextual foundations of the emerging research field of inter-organizational relations.

Last updated on 2019-13-03 at 12:00