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Exchange as a Conceptual Framework for the Study of Interorganizational Relationships

Sol Levine and Paul E. White
Administrative Science Quarterly
Vol. 5, No. 4 (Mar., 1961), pp. 583-601
DOI: 10.2307/2390622
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2390622
Page Count: 19
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Exchange as a Conceptual Framework for the Study of Interorganizational Relationships
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Abstract

This paper attempts to explain relationships among community health and welfare agencies by viewing them as being involved in an exchange system. Organizational exchange is defined as any voluntary activity between two organizations which has consequences, actual or anticipated, for the realization of their respective goals or objectives. Organizations have need for three main elements: (1) clients, (2) labor services, and (3) resources other than labor services. Theoretically, were all the essential elements in infinite supply there would be little need for organizational interaction and for subscription to co-operation as an ideal for health agencies. Under conditions of scarcity, however, interorganizational exchanges are essential to goal attainment. The interdependence of the agencies is contingent upon three related factors: (1) the accessibility of each organization to necessary elements from outside the health system, (2) the objectives of the organization and particular functions to which it allocates the elements it controls, and (3) the degree to which domain consensus exists among the various organizations.

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