This paper seeks to uncover dominant configurations of inter-organisational relationships across the US and Japan in the automotive industry. The author integrates relevant theoretical concepts from transaction cost economics, organisation theory and political economy to develop a conceptual model of inter-organisational relationships based on the fit between information processing needs and information processing capabilities. This model is employed to collect data on 447 buyer-supplier relationships in these two countries. The paper also empirically uncovers a set of five naturally occurring patterns of inter-organisational relationships. These configurations provide rich explanations of the complexity of inter-organisational relationships as well as offering differential insights across US and Japan. The author discusses implications for further research pertaining to the logic and development of configurations.