Journal Article | Advances in Strategic Management | 30 | September 2013
The Emergence and Coordination of Synchrony in Inter-Organizational Networks
This paper explores the emergence and coordination of synchrony in networked groups like those that develop integrated product platforms in collaborative ecosystems.While synchronized actions are an important objective for many groups, interorganizational network theory has yet to explore synchrony in depth perhaps because it does not fit the typical diffusion models this research relies upon. By adding organizationally realistic features – sparse network structure and intentional coordination – to the firefly model from theoretical biology, the author takes some first steps in understanding synchrony in organizational groups. Like diffusion, synchrony is more effective in denser networks, but unlike diffusion clustering decelerates synchrony’s emergence. Coordination by a few group members accelerates group-wide synchrony, and benefits the coordinating organizations with a higher likelihood that it converges to the coordinating organization’s preferred rhythm.This likelihood of convergence to an organization’s preferred rhythm – what the author terms synchrony performance – increases in denser networks, but is not dependent on tie strength and clustering.