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Coopetition and Complexity: Exploring a Coopetitive Relationship with Complexity
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE).
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE).
2011 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Cooperation have in previous research been seen as a negative impact on competition and 

vice versa. This thesis is building on a concept called coopetition in which cooperation and 

competition is studied simultaneously. Coopetition have been studied in terms of the level of 

cooperation and competition. However, we found a possible link between coopetition and 

complexity in previous literature. Thus, the purpose of this study is to explore whether 

complexity can develop an understanding for what organizations within a company group 

cooperate and compete about as well what they want to cooperate and compete about.  


The four main cornerstones in the theoretical frame of reference is cooperation, competition, 

coopetition and complexity. We begin by defining these concepts, describing previous 

research and discuss various factors of the concepts. Finally, we further develop the possible 

link between coopetition and complexity.   

For reaching our purpose we study a company group in the travel industry. We are 

conducting unstructured interviews with people at leading positions in the company group. 

Our analysis is done by thematic network analysis in six steps. 


The empirical data is coded, basic themes are found and a condensed version of the 

interviews is presented together with a short presentation about the company group.  


In the analysis we present two global themes, cooperation and competition. These are both 

derived from the basic themes and organizing themes. The factors of complexity are the 

organizing themes. 


Our conclusion is that complexity can categorize wanted and actual cooperation in the 

company group in the sense that complexity has to be lowered for cooperation to exist. 

Regarding competition, we did not draw any conclusion to our purpose due to lack of data. 

However, we find that competition is mainly seen as negative in the coopetitive situation 



The implications of this thesis is that complexity can further refine the concept of coopetition 

but the causality have to be further tested. In a managerial perspective, leaders should focus 

on decreasing the factors of complexity if cooperation is wanted. We also suggest that it is 

important to understand if people in organizations are positive towards cooperation and 

negative to competition or the other way around.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 60 p.
Keyword [en]
Cooperation Competition Coopetition Complexity
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-52689OAI: diva2:506554
2012-01-26, S205, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 08:00 (Swedish)
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-03-01 Created: 2012-02-29 Last updated: 2012-03-01Bibliographically approved

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