Т С Медведкин - Проблемы развития внешнеэкономических связей и привлечения иностранных инвестиций региональный аспект - страница 80
Interorganizational cooperation reflects the abilities of two or more firms to collaborate and work together in a joint fashion toward their respective goals [Bengtsson and Kock 1999, s. 181]. Cooperation could be defined as an agreement between firms about the appropriate role and scope of the both firms and the coordination of works so that activities are integrated for maximum effectiveness and efficiency for both parties [Metcalf and Frear 1993, p. 63-85].
Thus, it may be indicated that it is „... joint action of few persons, enterprises or companies, regulated by the agreement and aiming at achieving the determined purpose" [Praktyczny Slownik Wspolczesnej Polszczyzny 1998, p. 16]. It is identified with the shared activity of economic subjects which realize tasks connected with the determined chain of value. It is emphasized that it is practice which consist in the collaboration of two or more enterprises within the same or different, but connected with oneself, production processes in order to fulfill the determined task [Wielka Encyklopedia PWN, p. 332]. It should be understand as joint action, collaboration, the form of the work organization, the supply, the suppliers, the production cooperation of enterprises [Janasz 2000, p. 164].
According to Metcalf [Metcalf et al., 1992 p. 27] cooperation is a product of the exchange episodes that take place between buyer and seller. Cooperation refers to the extent that the work of buyer and seller is coordinate, e.g. by intentionally seeking common goals and willingness to engage in behaviour that maintains a mutually beneficial relationship.
Cooperation is also identified with the analogous or complementary coordinating activity, performed by the organizations in business relations in order to achieve individual or agreeable purposes with simultaneous expectation of repaying in the determined period [Anderson, Hakansson and Johanson 1994, s. 58; Wiertz et. al. 2004, p. 428]. The presented definition emphasizes the reciprocity principle, i.e. expectation of the revenge of one side from the second side in return for the action carried out which they were profiting from and which the organization wouldn't obtain acting on its own.
Cooperation is also considered as an opposite of competition and is described as coordinating activity [Balabanis 1998, p. 27]. The coordination is understood as the standard of the collaboration and joint action, in the result of which the activity of the organization is adapted for itself with the maximum effectiveness and efficiency.
According to T. K. Das and B. S. Tenga [1998, p. 491-512] cooperation means that partners creating the cooperative arrangement are rather prone to carry out one another compatible undertakings than to act opportunistically. The term cooperation also suggests that partners are acting according to the truth and they are involved in the creation of the agreement. It obliges to keep the altruistic behaviour, mutual confidence and the pro-social activity. There is required an absolute and endless confidence which is treated as the basic element of the relation enabling the organizations to fully exploit their potential [Geyskens, Steenkamp and Kumar 1998, p. 224]. It becomes the preliminary condition of the created relations and determines the level, the scope and conditions of future action. It is emphasized that the high level confidence lets the enterprises to coordinate activity and a joint effort causes the realization of planned purposes, the outcome of which significantly exceeds the results which companies would achieve in the case of independent action. And so cooperation is an indication of willingness to compromise among companies, irrespective of the origin it comes from whether the confidence based on the relation (result of earlier interactions and mutual understanding) whether from the confidence based on the clean calculation (forced by the effective managing or realization of the strategic purposes) Dyer 1997, p. 535]. It should be also emphasized that the development of cooperation, entering higher levels of the interdependence are connected with non-coercive usage of the bargaining power of partner with the dominating position. Thus, confidence becomes the preliminary and necessary condition of every cooperation.
Cooperation is also treated like an idiosyncrasy of the relation which is formed between acting together participants of the market, consisting of mutual understanding, coincident purposes and values and aspiring to the joint work in order to achieve identical results. The consensus of the field and the scope of activity refers to the agreement between the participants of the arrangement in relation to the manufactured products and service of markets. However, it also refers to the function everyone performs in the formed alliance. The increase in the level of the domain compatibility and the scope of the cooperation contributes to the increase in the level of collaboration and inversely the low compatibility weakens the cooperative connections [Sibley and Michie 1982, p. 25]. So that the cooperative arrangement applies effectively as the system, it has to work out the procedure in relation to the collaboration and the coordination. This procedure should contain four desiderata [Sibley and Michie 1982, p. 25]:
• determining the appropriate position and responsibilities of all participants,
• accepted norms, relations, principles and procedures serving for achieving their goals,
• motives and incentives for individual participants carrying out the project,
• locus the authority.
Therefore, it is possible to define it as the cooperation of companies allowing them to obtain additional mutual benefits in the process of achieving different individual aims subordinated to achieve their superior goal for which the given agreement was appointed. Thus, it is . "arrangement of relationships and relations between subjects, among which one - as the producer of the manufactured product - use the help of different subjects. In this arrangement they are the cooperators contributing to the manufactured product their specialist input in the form of half-products, semi-finished products, aggregates, componentry or other components, or specialist technological operations essential to its production ." [Encyklopedia biznesu 1995, p. 446]. It is emphasized that cooperation of enterprises results from a few premises [Kaczmarek 2000, p. 29]:
© Nowak D., 2013
• signals from the market,
• signals from other enterprises,
• signals from the national and local governments,
• strategy of functioning and development realized by the enterprises,
• level of use of different law - organizational forms of enterprise cooperation.
It is also underlined that in the context of the initial assumptions and decisions the managing of cooperative relations is very essential. The collaboration between partners is based on a mutual confidence and commitment which constitute the critical factors in formal and unofficial meetings and they enable to avoid post-contractual conflicts. And so the essential significance is given to the opened flow of information, the willingness to share the experience and abilities with the partner what in consequences contributes to the reduction in the IT asymmetry, contract monitoring costs and the possibility of opportunist action [Dyer 1997, p. 535]. It should be emphasized that already several dozen years ago, the purpose of creating the relation and connections resulted from the desire for the rational production and sale arrangement, and creating such conditions which basic task was increase in profitability of economical action. It concerned mainly the reduction of own costs of manufacturing products at simultaneous improvement of the products quality and keeping up the required dates [Smolihski 1982, p. 100].
Finally it could be emphasized that according Prasad cooperation is kind of philosophy of the enterprise and consist of seven elements (called "7c") [Prasad 1998, p. 143-144]:
• Collaboration: this describes a process of value creation that a traditional structure of communication and teamwork cannot achieve. Instead of focusing on methods of communication (such as teams with definite roles and set of operating procedures), collaboration seeks out the unplanned and unpredictable events in product development.
• Commitment: empowered teams define the tasks and prioritize areas to make breakthrough opportunities. Goals and objectives, duration, utility, complexity, expected results, and key success factors are outlined as much as possible. Management is fully committed to meeting the goals.
• Communications: effective communication is the precursor to meaningful collaboration. Communication is a free and open exchange of information among the teams, whereas the collaboration is a commitment to create a shared understanding and work together.
• Compromise: there is compromise and input from every discipline so that simultaneous development of the product, process, and associated tooling can be achieved.
• Consensus: project team and management members may disagree on some issues, but teams' support on the requirements and a commitment to project objectives from the very outset is essential. These common objectives are reinforced throughout the life of the project.
• Continuous improvement: product or process design teams work toward the total elimination of waste. The concept focuses on enhancing productivity and profitability through continuous improvements of product quality and reduction in product development cycle-time.
• Coordination: - coordination is the act of managing interdependencies between activities. Coordination involves actors performing interdependent activities that achieve goals, and its analysis includes goal decomposition, resource allocation, synchronization, group decision making, communication and the preparation of common objectives. Partnerships are formed among all disciplines involved in the project and communication links are formally established and utilized. Suppliers are involved in the early stages of the project.
Tab. 1. Types of cooperation
The kind and number of participants
Between two subjects (diada) Between unites in the group Between unit and group Between groups
Equal - partners represent the same social status Unequal - participants represent the different social status
Layout of partners and kinds of the contact and communicating between them
Indirect on a macro scale (e.g. shared solving of the problem by different subjects in different cities, countries which are contacting mainly indirectly)
Direct in micro scale when subjects are contacting in the direct way in one place, and together perform tasks
Kind of motivation inducing partners towards shared undertaking to joint action and its continuation
Imposed when a few or more people are forced in some way by outside factors for shared action
Voluntary which results from the unaffected decision, as for choice about purposes, tasks shared activity
Formal - being aimed of determined problems in the frames of some institution or organization, running in conditions determined by this institution
Unofficial - running in conditions e.g. agreed ad hoc by participants not determined any legal document
Course of the process of cooperating in the time
Contemporary, when people in the same time, parallely carry out the determined activities, aiming towards the achievement of the joint purpose
Consequent (procedural) when different activities, tasks, aiming at the shared task fulfillment, are performed one by one
Way of performing tasks by partners and their mutual interdependence
Straight if each of the partners carries out the same activities in the same time Compound if every participant carries out different activities which are part of the accomplishment of the shared task
Source: B. Bebenek, 2006, Wokol koncepcji wspoldzialania, w (red.) M. Gorzyhski, System wspierania gron przedsiebiorczosci - publikacja podsumowujaca, Instytut Gospodarki Wyzszej Szkoly Informatyki i Zarzadzania, Rzeszow, s. 40.
2. The object and the aim of examinations
Empirical examinations, concerning the influence of industrial cooperation on functioning of the enterprise, were conducted as part of the broader observation concerning the character, the conditions, the state and the limitations of the cooperative relations in industrial enterprises in years 2008/2009. Choice of the subject for examinations was based on the method of the nonrandom, intentional selection of typical individuals. Thus 270 subjects took part in the examination. Among them for further analyses there were categorised 226 enterprises representing, according to EKD, one of groups of the industrial processing. These enterprises running business activity have to both use the cooperative supplies and actively seek the contractors to whom they can provide the produced products and service.
Tab. 2. Structure of the examined enterprises of the industrial processing according to EKD groups
Industrial processing (15-37)
No. of index (N = 226)
The production of commodities, drinks, tobacco products
he textile industry, the production of clothes, fur products, skins, products from skins
Production from wood, the wooden ware, the production of furniture,
Production of stringy mass, paper and products of paper
Production of chemical products, rubber products and of plastics and from remaining non-metallic products
Production of metals, metal finished articles, machines of both devices, machines and the electric equipment, medical, precise and optical instruments
Production of motor vehicles, trailers and semi trailers and the remaining car equipment.
Source: own study on the basis of empirical research findings.
In the examined trial of the production companies constituted 62.8% (142 subjects) and 37.2% (84 subjects) were determined as production-service. Production activity was represented by such businesses as: farm and food, machine, textile, clothing, cutting and processing of wood and production of furniture. In frames of the second area, of which providing production services was the main domain, the indicated services were production of parts and elements on the order of the cooperator according to his specification and requirements and the range of different ones like assembly, collection, painting, varnishing, demolitions, division, processing, rolling, milling and other. For production services there were also recognised the service of transport, storing and storage and keeping the movement, service and repairs. Tab. 3. Structure of the examined enterprises according to the size of the enterprise
No. of employees
Total no. of trials N = 226
No. of index
10 - 24
25 - 49
50 - 99
100 - 249
250 - 499
500 - 1000
more than 1000
Source: own study on the basis of empirical research findings.
Considering the criterion of the size, there were identified 94 small entities with the average employment of 10-49 persons which constitute the 41.6% of the attempt, 96 average subjects about the employment in the period of 50-249 persons, constituting the 42.5% of the attempt and 36 large subjects about the employment exceeding 250 persons, attempts constituting the 15.9%. Table 4. Enterprises according to the supported markets
Characteristics of the market1
Total no. of trials N = 226
No. of index
International market Globar market
1 enterprises could indicate more than one market Source: own study on the basis of empirical research findings.
Considering the significance of the regions in which the analysed individuals are active, it should be underlined that in the moment of carrying out the research, the domestic market represented by 42.8% of the entire sample, was the market generating the biggest incomes. The international market constituted the 26.8% of the research sample i.e. 91 subjects. The fewest enterprises, as only less than the 3.3%, is acting on the global market.
Table 5. The kind of the applied base strategy and directions of its change
Kind of the applied base strategy1
Total no. of trials N = 226
No. of index
price strategy (pricing leadership)
mix up strategy
strategy of the follower
lack of clear strategy diversified strategy
1 enterprises could indicate more than one strategy Source: own study on the basis of empirical research findings.
Characterizing the examined group of enterprises the focus was placed to the kind of the applied base strategy assuming that it is fundamental in the process of cooperation. In the general sample there were dominating two strategies: quality strategy realized effectively by 153 subjects constituting the 67.7% and the pricing leadership strategy realized by 114 subjects constituting the 50.4% of the sample. Among other kinds of enterprises it is worthwhile to focus on the niche strategy which is understood as the service of the closely determined, selected and exactly specified market segment. Servicing of such market, especially on the market of industrial goods, is connected with close, long-lasting and based on the mutual confidence relations. This kind of the strategy is crystallised in 46 cases which constitute the 20.4% of index.
3. Influence of cooperation on activity of enterprise in the light of empirical examinations
Conducting examinations concerning the influence of collaboration and cooperating on the chosen areas of the enterprise activities, the respondents were asked for determining the poignancy in five degree Likert scale. It was agreed that 1 means the lack of income, 2 - slight influence, 3 - average influence, 4 - essential influence and 5 - very essential influence. Determining direction of the influence strength of cooperation on individual variables a balanced arithmetic mean was calculated and determined in this work as the rate of influence S. Analysis of results indicated that collaboration and cooperating in the essential way contribute to the improvement in functioning of the enterprise and they concern many levels and areas which were differently granted depending on the size of the enterprise, the domain of activity as well as the business. Generally the rate of the influence for the entire research sample ranged from 2.43 to 4.
According to respondents' the cooperation, in the very essential way, contributes to the increase in size of incomes of the enterprises which establish appropriate relations and affairs with different actors of the market. The greatest weight was assigned to this variable S = 4.0. Peculiarly the essential influence of the cooperation on the increase in size of incomes takes place in the medium-size enterprises. The obtained assessment is in accordance with the adopted assumptions, according to which the cooperation contributes to the increase in scale of activities.
Two next factors are connected with an above variable: the increase in the size of profit of the enterprise and the improvement in the profitability of the sale. Respondents appraise the influence of cooperation on the increase in profit size. It ranks in the entire research sample on the level S=3.92.
Table 6. Assessment of the influence of the cooperation on chosen areas of activity of enterprise
Influence of cooperation on:
Increase in the size of incomes
Increase in the size of the profit of the enterprise
Improvement in the profitability of the sale
Improvement in ordering the quality in the enterprise
Improvement in products offered to the quality
Improvement in the competitive position
Rise in the amount of produced products
Quality of the service of contractors
Improvement in the quality of the provided work
Height of exploiting production capacities
Improvement in the image of the enterprise
Improvement in production processes
strategic managing in the scope of planning the production
System of administering funds
System of managing marketing and the sale
Increase in the bargaining strength towards recipients
Increase in the bargaining strength towards suppliers
Optimization of using means of production
Height of the assortment of produced products
Investments in machines, devices and the infrastructure
Investments in the network of the communication
Improvement in the internal communication
Improvement in the outside communication the
Education and abilities of workers
Improvement in conditions of the work (equipping offices, plumbings, canteens and the like)
Improvement in the organization of the work
Care of the natural environment
Improvement in the technical state of machines and devices
Optimization of using industrial product
OW - percentage of readings, ZN - meaning of the factor, OS - standard deviation Source: own study on the basis of empirical research findings.
The effectiveness of the enterprise activities is also reflected through the influence of cooperation on the profitability of activities. Examined subjects show that thanks to the cooperation they reach the higher return from invested capital in comparison to the periods in which they didn't conduct activities on the base of the formalised agreements with different participants of the market. Such agreements guarantee the sale of the produced products or provided services on the certain level determined in the agreement what contributes to the reduction in costs and optimization of stores. The rate of the gravity for the entire sample amounts to the S equal 3.82 but the biggest influence of the cooperation on the improvement in profitability is in medium-size enterprises.
In the presented ranking the influence of cooperation on the improvement in produced qualities and/or provided services, is also very important and it gained the score S=3,69. It should be underlined that within the networks of cooperating enterprises which relations are based on trusting and engagement, the problem of the quality is picking up a new meaning. Every participant of the agreement must put the great significance to the quality problems because it is a guarantor of the long-standing and stable cooperation. Not obeying procedures, any drifts from adopted norms or not respecting the conditions of a contract can contribute to the disintegration of the arrangement and place the enterprise in not very comfortable situation.
On the next place in the presented balance sheet there is an improvement in the competitive position of the cooperating enterprises, which rate of the significance for the entire sample amounts to S=3.59. Analysing the obtained scores it should be underlined that both in literature as well as in the economic practice, collaboration and cooperation have important position in the process of a company competitiveness improvement. The special significance is put to the cooperation with enterprises with good image and reputation, consolidated renown and the stable economic situation. Such cooperation reduces the risk, stabilizes the activity as well as it ensures the security in the long perspective.
From different variables which stay under the influence of the collaboration and cooperation it is worthwhile pointing at the increase in the exploiting of the production capacities (S=3.40) and improvement in the image of the enterprise (S=3.40). First of them is peculiarly essential in big-size and production enterprises which thanks to exploiting the outside cooperators can optimize the usage of the possessed park of machines. These enterprises concentrate on these areas of the activities which constitute for them the crucial competence and which are devoted to all resources both material, financial and personal ones. Remaining functions, with lower priority or, in the scope of which enterprises don't specialize, are extracted and allocated to partners for their realization. They carry them out better, more cheap and more quickly. Taking into consideration the second variable,
according to respondents' the cooperation, in the greatest scope, allows to improve the PR of small enterprises and then the medium-size ones which can use the renown and the position of often bigger partners. Subject of the image is appreciated above all by enterprises providing production services.
The essential problem for the majority of enterprises acting in Poland, is the correct and optimal usage of means of production. Misaimed investments, incorrect estimating of demand or mistakes of technical departments amount to unnecessary and increase in useless materials. However examinations indicate that the cooperation between enterprises contributes to the considerable reduction in unnecessary materials what results in the savings of costs, time and place. This problem is noticed above all in medium-size and big-size enterprises dealing with the production.
Among other factors shaped under the influence of cooperation it is worthwhile to point at the abilities and the improvement in education of workers. Particularly big influence in this aspect cooperation has in the group of small-size enterprises acting with a use of Polish capital, providing diversified production services (3.16). The presented result shows that small businessmen appreciate the significance of knowledge in the process of cooperation and actively use all forms of workshops and trainings.
Presented results explicitly underline a positive effect of the collaboration and cooperation among enterprises on their correct functioning and possibility of achieving the benefits which could not be gained on their own. This influence may concern different areas of activity of the enterprise. It starts from the improvement in the profitability through the organization of the production and logistic action and finishing on internal conditions for running a business. Additionally through joint undertakings, combining resources and shared risk the cooperation contributes to the improvement in the competitive position and increase in company value of for both the owners and shareholders as well as workers, contractors and local communities. In spite of positive assumptions the cooperation not always will bring the anticipated effects. Essential problems are connected with a lack of coordination and synchronization of activities, and a lack of the resources compatibility, a contradiction of purposes, a cultural incongruity, a lack of trust and engagement. These negatives are results of bad management as the created relations should be properly managed. Managing should have permanent and dynamic character and concern the examined arrangement as a whole rather than the set of two or large amounts of subjects. The cooperation between enterprises usually has long-term character what means that concluded contracts must have an open character to some extent, enabling their correction following the coming changes. Changes can have different character starting from small alterations, and finishing with the revision of the entire agreement. Thus the preferred management mechanisms are based on the mutual sympathy, understanding and approval.
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