Organisational Relational Model

The Organisational Relational Model (ORM)

The components of the Organisational Relational Model (ORM) are:

(see chart "The Organisational Relational Model (ORM)" above)

  • Goal of the relation, that is, the “raison d’etre” of the relation itself;
  • Tools supporting the relation: tools are technological or legal solutions which offer structured means of interaction. IT tools offer opportunities to communicate or to work on common resources such as databases, documents, virtual artefacts; legal tools facilitate interactions (commercial contracts, convention etc.)
  • (Organizational) Rules, that is, tacit or explicit organizational norms that define acceptable behaviour. Examples of organizational tools can be structured opportunities for inter-personal contacts (e.g. periodic meetings or personnel exchange and rotation), liaison roles, team-work
  • The Cultural Background, that is, actors’ implicit assumptions, beliefs and values.

The ORM allows the evaluation of ORs from a qualitative point of view. In particular the first aspect of this qualitative assessment is the coherence of the Organizational Relation. That is, the coherence among the four axes (goals, organizational rules, tools and cultural background) in an organizational relation. An organizational relation is not coherent if, for example, the available tools are not flexible enough while the goals are unstructured and dynamic, or if the actor’s cultural background make difficult and also hinder the definition of some shared rules.

Each of these four dimensions can be evaluated with appropriate measures.
The proposed method can be used to evaluate the “quality” of the organizational relations. The underlying hypothesis is that the quality of organizational relations affects Intellectual Capital flows.

According to the ORM, good quality organizational relations are called “rich” relations, while organizational relations that are qualitatively inadequate to generate IC flows are called “poor” relations.
Organizational relations are rich if:


  1. the actors share partially/largely a goal and the goals are relevant for the success of the two organizations;
  2. the technological and legal tools provide sufficient opportunities for the actors to work together without technical difficulties (e.g. communication tools are available and easy to use; commercial agreements or other types of contracts – conventions, agreements, MoU - provide a framework which defines the rules for the transactional aspects of the relation);
  3. the organizational rules are effective and known by the actors and accepted by the participants.
  4. the cultural background is largely shared by the partners or, if partially different, some parts of different background can be integrated and combined.

Figure 1: Example of The Quality Relationships Assessment Questionnaire

Figure 2: Example of The Quality Relationships Assessment Questionnaire

Figure 3: Example of The Quality Relationships Assessment Questionnaire

Figure 4: Example of The Quality Relationships Assessment Questionnaire