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Interorganizational Communication

Marya L. Doerfel

Subject Communication Studies » Organizational Communication

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Interorganizational communication (IOC) emphasizes relationships organizations have with external constituents as opposed to relationships that occur internally. IOC research considers issues like information flows, information sharing, reputation, cooperation, competition, coalition building, and power. IOC theoretical developments are substantially multidisciplinary. Communication researchers often emphasize the understanding of who communicates with whom and about what. Economists and sociologists tend to see linkages in terms of some exchange with limited interest in the content of communication within that exchange. This emphasis by communication scholars reflects the assumption that interorganizational relationships are enacted by individuals’ communicative actions (→  Organizational Communication ). Much IOC research considers the interplay between micro-level processes (e.g., organizational representatives’ actions) and macro-level structures (e.g., overall system qualities). Structure reveals qualities of the system and offers a context for understanding emergent patterns and systematic variation among its members. Regardless of whether macro-level or micro-level issues are in the foreground of the scholarship, research and theory development concerns itself with organizational roles within some social structure (created by some form of communication or exchange), and how ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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