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The manifestation of coordination failures in service triads

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jas KalraORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Emerald Publishing Limited, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.

Abstract paper aims to investigate governance in service triads, specifically studying significant steering and connecting coordination failures, to reveal typically hidden characteristics and consequences.Design/methodology/approachThis study focuses on coordination functions and activities between a buyer (a government department), a customer (a military service) and two service providers. Rich data on these normally confidential service ties are drawn from an official report into the causes of a fatal accident involving a UK reconnaissance aircraft and specifically from the evidence presented regarding the earlier development of its complex safety case. The authors also analysed a range of additional secondary data sources.FindingsThe authors examine the sources, drivers and manifestation of coordination failures. The authors uncover a series of coordination failures driven from the bridge position, revealing that while bounded rationality and opportunism influenced steering coordination failures, connecting coordination failures were associated with knowledge asymmetry, dyadic inertia and unethical practices.Practical implicationsOrganisations and governments delivering complex projects and knowledge-intensive professional services should guard against outsourcing the “coordination” activity to a third party, thereby relinquishing the bridge position. Handing over the bridge position to an integrator would leave the client vulnerable to coordination dysfunctions such as bounded rationality, opportunism, knowledge asymmetry, dyadic inertia and unethical practices.Originality/valueThe study links the previously separate research streams of service triads and inter-organizational coordination. While extant research pays attention to mainly positive control functions, this study focuses on all three actors in two (failed) service triads – and highlights the impact of coordination activities and failures.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kalra J, Lewis MA, Roehrich JK

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Supply Chain Management

Year: 2021

Volume: 26

Issue: 3

Pages: 341-358

Print publication date: 03/05/2021

Online publication date: 18/12/2020

Acceptance date: 17/08/2020

Date deposited: 11/05/2021

ISSN (print): 1359-8546

ISSN (electronic): 1758-6852

Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited


DOI: 10.1108/SCM-03-2019-0115


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