Revisit: Managing Coopetition


Managing Coopetition: Transcending a Paradox, Special issue of Industrial Mar Man; Deadline 15 Jul 2014

Industrial Marketing Management
Call for Papers for a Special issue focusing on:
Managing Coopetition: Transcending a paradox

Deadline for submission is July 15, 2014

Industrial Marketing Management announces the call for papers for a special issue on the topic “Managing Coopetition: Transcending a Paradox”. The deadline for submission is 15th of July 2014.

Purpose of the special issue

Coopetition is defined as the simultaneous pursuit of cooperation and competition among firms (Bengtsson & Kock, 1999; Padula & Dagnino, 2007; Gnyawali, He & Madhavan, 2008; Yami, Castaldo, Dagnino & Le Roy, 2010). This strategy is suggested by scholars as being critical for firm performance. While the pursuit of coopetition has the potential to create competitive advantage for firms, it is quite challenging to be exploited, given the very high levels of tension attributed to this paradoxical relationship (Gnyawali, Madhavan, He, and Bengtsson, 2012) as it embodies opposing forces of competition and collaboration and the need to work together to generate higher common value and the need to compete with each other to get a large portion of the value (Bengtsson & Kock, 2000; Gnyawali & Park, 2011; Walley, 2007). These tensions can be very strong and could jeopardize effective pursuit of coopetition (Bengtsson & Kock, 2000).

Despite the surge of scholarly interest on coopetition and its management practice, less attention has been paid to the management of tension associated to coopetition. While the literature has stressed the existence of tensions, and has begun to uncover their causes and nature in coopetition, our understanding of this important phenomenon is clearly lacking. A closer examination of ways of managing tension is thus critical to develop a theory of coopetition (Walley, 2007; Chen, 2008; Gnyawali & Park, 2011). Previous research on these questions has been mainly theoretical (Das & Teng, 2000; Clarke-Hill, Li & Davies, 2003; De Rond & Bouchikhi, 2004; Chen, 2008; Gnyawali, He, & Madhavan, 2008). Empirical studies remain to date very rare (Bengtsson & Kock, 2000).

The management of coopetition is a priori an issue for all hierarchical levels in firms. Firstly, we can expect that managing coopetition is an issue for the Top Management Team (TMT). Once a coopetition strategy is adopted, the TMT is in charge of the contractual dimensions and of the governance structure. The TMT is responsible for the rise, the maintenance, or the crush of coopetition strategy. The implementation of the coopetition strategy relies also on the TMT. Secondly, we can expect that managing coopetition is an issue for the middle managers. They are directly involved in the daily management of coopetition. The organizational dynamics of coopetition would depend on their actions and decisions. Finally, we can wonder how employees could work in a coopetitive context. We can point out here that very little empirical research is done on these major issues.

There are also few studies about managerial tools, principles, frameworks, practices set up by companies to deal with coopetition challenges. We do not know much about the organizational design of coopetition: are specific organizational designs required to implement coopetition strategy? Little research investigated the missions of the managers in coopetitive contexts: what are their objectives? how are they evaluated and promoted?

Managerial tools used in coopetitive contexts can be considered today as terra incognita. For example:

  • What about information systems used to simultaneously share and protect information in coopetitive relationships?
  • What about the human resource management of individuals involved in coopetitive project?
  • What are the best practices to manage coopetition?

Since coopetition strategies are widely adopted by a large number of companies in a growing number of industries, it is critically relevant to fill in these theoretical gaps. The overall aim of this special issue is to provide theoretical and empirical insights that shed light on the management of coopetition strategies. Without being limited to the following, specific topics may include different levels of analysis:

1. Managing coopetition strategy at the inter-organizational level

  • How do firms organize and manage coopetition at the industry level?
  • How Top Management Teams decide with their rivals/partners a coopetition strategy?
  • How do coopetition shape and industry?
  • May coopetition strategy be planned or is it an emergent strategy?
  • Are there specific contractual governance principles for coopetition strategy?
  • Are contracts required in a coopetition strategy? Do they efficiently manage coopetition?
  • Is trust important in coopetition? Is trust a driver of coopetition? Is trust a tool developed by partners to manage coopetitive tensions?
  • What are the differences between managing coopetition in large companies and in small businesses?
  • What are the roles of third parties in the management of coopetition? Do they contribute to the success of the relationship? Do they represent another source of tensions?
  • What are the roles of clients in the management of coopetitive tensions? Do they reduce or increase the tensions?

2. Managing coopetition strategy at the intra-organizational level

  • What are organizational designs set up by companies to successfully manage coopetition?
  • How do firms manage the informal dimensions of coopetitive relationships?
  • Who are firms’ key actors that ensure the success of a coopetition strategy?
  • What are the required coopetitive capabilities?
  • What are the roles of the middle managers in the implementation of a coopetition strategy?
  • How do companies can deal with the dilemma of simultaneously sharing and protecting their core knowledge?
  • How do learning processes take place in coopetition strategy?
  • What are the formal managerial tools used to manage coopetition?
  • How do firms manage the risk of information transfer in a coopetitive context?
  • Are there some specific information systems for coopetition?
  • Does the TMT give coopetitive guidelines or specific material to managers?
  • How do companies manage simultaneously exploration and exploitation processes in coopetition?
  • Would it be possible to identify some best practice to manage coopetition?
  • Could coopetition management be considered as a key factor success of coopetition strategy? How do coopetition management contribute to coopetition performance?
  • Would it be possible to identify failures in coopetition management? Consequently, what would be the worst coopetitive managerial principles?

3. Managing coopetition at the individual level

  • What are the micro-foundations of coopetition strategies?
  • Are all managers able to work in a coopetitive context? Would it be possible to draw a profile for the “coopetitive manager type” based on cognitive or psychological features?
  • Is there specific coopetition training for managers?
  • What are the individual perspectives after a coopetition experience? Is coopetition valuable for the individual’s career development?
  • How individuals are they rewarded by their parent firms for working in a paradoxical context as coopetition?
  • What are the roles of alliance manager in coopetition?

We will give preference to empirical papers—both qualitative and quantitative—although theoretical papers that examine fundamental issues in, or offer comprehensive frameworks of managing coopetition strategy also are welcomed. As Industrial Marketing Management is widely read by an academic and business audience, all submissions should include implications for practitioners.


Bengtsson, M. and Kock, S. (1999) “Cooperation and competition in relationships between competitors in business networks”, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Vol. 14, 178-190.

Bengtsson, M. and Kock S. (2000) “Coopetition in Business Networks – to Cooperate and Compete Simultaneously”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 29, 411-426.

Chen, M-J. (2008), Reconceptualizing the Competition–Cooperation Relationship: A Transparadox Perspective, Journal of Management Inquiry, 17 : 4, 288-305.

Clarke-Hill, C., Li, H. and Davies B. (2003) “The paradox of co-operation and competition in strategic alliances: Towards a multi-paradigm approach, Management Research News, Vol. 26, 1-21.

Das, T.K. and Teng B. S. (2000) “Instabilities of Strategic Alliances: An Internal Tensions Perspective”, Organization Science, Vol. 11, 77-101.

De Rond, M. and Bouchikhi H. (2004) “On the Dialectics of Strategic Alliances”, Organization Science, Vol.15, 56-69.

Gnyawali, D. R., He, J. and R. Madhavan (2008), Co-opetition: promises and challenges, In C. Wankel (dir), 21st Century Management: A reference Handbook. CA: Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, 386-398.

Gnyawali, D. R. and Park B. J. (2011) “Co-opetition between Giants: Collaboration between competitors for technological innovation”, Research Policy, Vol.40, 650-663.

Gnyawali, D. R., Madhavan, R.M., He, J. and Bengtsson, M. 2012. Contradictions, Dualities and Tensions in Cooperation and Competition: A Capability Based Framework. Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Boston, MA.

Padula, G. and Dagnino G. B. (2007) “Untangling the rise of co-opetition: The intrusion of competition in a cooperative game structure”, International Studies of Management & Organization, Vol. 37, 32-52.

Walley, K. (2007) “Co-opetition: An introduction to the subject and an agenda for research”, International Studies of Management and Organization, Vol. 37, 11-31.

Yami S., Castaldo S., Dagnino G. B., Le Roy F. (2010) Coopetition: winning strategies for the 21st century, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

Paper submission and review process

Papers submitted must not have been published, accepted for publication, or presently be under consideration for publication elsewhere. IMM does not impose a page limitation, but longer papers must make a greater contribution for acceptance. Copies should be submitted via email as a single MS Word file attachment (in one file including all figures and tables) to the guest editors, as well as the IMM office (; please indicate that the paper is for the special issue on managing coopetition strategies: transcending coopetitive paradox). The first page must contain the title of the paper and the names and contact details of all authors. For additional guidelines, see “Notes for Contributors” from a recent issue of Industrial Marketing Management, or visit:

Papers not complying with the notes for contributors or poorly written will be desk rejected. Suitable articles will be subjected to a double-blind review; hence, authors must not identify themselves in the body of their paper. (Please do not submit a Word file with “track changes” active or a PDF file.)

Deadline for submission is July 15, 2014

Please address all questions to the guest editors:

Professor Frederic Le Roy
Universite Montpellier I
Email :

Professor Giovanni Battista Dagnino
Universita delli Studi di Catania
Email :

Professor Wojciech Czakon
University of Economics in Katowice

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