Ambiguity, complexity and dynamics in the membership of collaboration

Huxham, Chris and Vangen, Siv (2000). Ambiguity, complexity and dynamics in the membership of collaboration. Human Relations, 53(6) pp. 771–806.



This paper is concerned with the role that membership structures of inter-organizational collaborations have on the achievement of collaborative advantage in the context of tackling social issues. Based on action research involving participants in a wide variety of collaborative situations, the paper aims to explore the nature of the membership of collaborations in practice. A picture of membership is built up from two perspectives. The first considers the structure of collaboration, and argues that ambiguity and complexity in structure may be demonstrated over many dimensions. The second adds another layer of complication through exploring the dynamics of the way in which membership structures change over time. The paper concludes by examining the implications for practitioners and policy makers of this picture in terms of its effect on the design of collaborations and on the factors which tend to lead to collaborative inertia instead of collaborative advantage.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions