Interorganizational Conflict

Understanding Interorganizational Conflict

Interorganizational conflict involves disputes between two or more organizations. A situation of interorganizational conflict may be the continuing battle between U.S. businesses and their global rivals: Ford versus Hyundai, or AT&T versus Verizon, for example.

Interorganizational conflicts often occur as a result of the competition and the rivalry that characterizes two or more firms operating in the same market or vying for the same consulting contract. For example, different energy suppliers may engage in interorganizational conflict when they are competing for a larger market share. The more interesting interorganizational conflicts, however, may be those among organizations that are working together, perhaps in joint operating agreements or community consortiums.

Interorganizational conflict is a much broader issue than that represented by market competition alone. Other common examples include disagreements between unions and the organizations employing their members, between government regulatory agencies and the organizations subject to their surveillance, between organizations and their suppliers, and between organizations and outside activist groups.