Interfirm cooperations on strategic- and operational level -A case study of outsourced cleaning service

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: Background: Since outsourcing is used more and more it is interesting to investigate the interorganizational cooperation between the buyer and the supplier (Corbett, 2004). This new form of interfirm collaboration brings light to new consequences and problems that may occur in the relationship. These aspects have caused an increased focus on the contracts and the management of relationships in interfirm relations. Problem: How is the interfirm cooperation between a buyer and a service supplier handled on the strategic and operative level, when the service is performed at the buyer’s facilities? Purpose: We elaborate in the interfirm organizational area in order to get an enhanced understanding of how the strategic and operational cooperations and relationships between a buyer and a service supplier functions. Method: A case study is conducted and several interviews with people at different levels in the case company and its suppliers are performed. The interviews are semi-structured in order to enable the respondents to talk freely and for us to find out more in depth how the cooperation functions. The empirical findings are then analyzed through comparing them to the frame of references. Conclusion: The interfirm cooperations on the strategic- and operational levels are handled differently due to many different aspects. The cooperation on strategic level do not involve any day to day work which implies that it is easier for them to exert formal control. The contract is written on the strategic level and is rather used as a backbone for the operative cooperation than as a set of strictly regulating rules. This is due to that differences here are solved through communication and trust. The operational relationship is structured by a tradeoff between trust and control. The parties have to interact with each other, as both parties work at the buyer’s facilities, and hence the human aspects have to be taken into consideration when exerting control. Future areas of investigation: It would be interesting to investigate if there are any differences within the company, due to other cultures or macro factors, at stores in other countries compared to the stores in Sweden that we have visited. It would also be interesting to look at how people at other levels in both the Group and the supplier look at the cooperation.

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