Partner Complementarity Conditions

Strategic and Personal Opportunities

Understanding the strategic opportunities, and possibly necessities, for one's organization to join a collaboration - why the collaboration is taking place - contributes to being actively involved in the collaboration. We found in our study that a majority of the respondents agreed that the collaboration offered opportunities from a strategic point of view.

Agreement was strongest for respondents who had frequent interactions with the other party. However, such positive attitudes are not a given and requires careful preparation of the collaboration.

Positively valuing organizational opportunities does not imply that the collaboration is seen as providing personal opportunities. To develop personal benefits, it is important to explicitly highlight and demonstrate the opportunities that could be explored, such as increased learning experiences (Essens & Bekkers, 2014).

Typical survey questions directly ask participants to what extent they agree that the collaboration offers opportunities for the organization and for them personally, including examples of opportunities, such as learning experiences and career opportunities.

Pride in the Collaboration

Organizational pride is a positive emotion regarding the achievements -past, present and future - of one’s organization, which provides a strong source of identity with the organization (Gouthier & Rhein, 2011). In the case we studied, the collaboration was positioned as a lighthouse project for future collaborations and it was broadly communicated this way. The respondents, who felt high pride in the lighthouse character of the collaboration and were more engaged, were more motivated to collaborate, identified more with the collective and evaluated the collaboration more positively.

Survey questions ask about the extent to which participants agree to statements such as, Working in this collaboration gives me the feeling to play part in something unique or, The creation of this collaboration is an exemplary project.

Perceived Complementarity and Unique Contributions

Complementarity of knowledge and skills relates to the idea that the combined executional qualities of the collaboration partners will achieve better outcomes. This does not imply having more of the same, rather more diversity of knowledge and skill. Even for seemingly similar organizations, such as two military organizations, this diversity can be high. For instance, one partner may be used to have a flexible informal way of operating, while the other follows a more formal, structured approach.

The perception that collaborations partners have complementary skills and knowledge is an important positive force for motivation. However, for maximum impact, it is required that these complementary skills are actually used. More specifically, we find that participants identify more strongly and are more motivated, when they feel they are making a unique contribution to the success of the collaboration. In other words, when they feel that the complementarity skills and knowledge that they possess make a difference for the integration. In fact, participants whose unique complementary skills lay dormant feel unappreciated and eventually turn their backs on the collaboration. It can be concluded that participants who see clear complementarities between them and their collaborators and feel they make a unique contribution, identify more with the collective and are more motivated to participate.

Survey questions ask about the extent that participants agree to statements such as, “ The skills of partner A and partner B complement each other" or, “Partner A has know-how in areas in which partner B has less know-how".

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