Enhancing the quality of relationships
The quality of the relationships established among the companies that have developed a cluster is a relevant component for the development, the sustainability and the overall quality of the cluster.
Although big attention has been paid to the Relational Capital (RC) more quantitative aspects, recently its qualitative aspects have gained renewed attention. Managing these more qualitative aspects of RC internally is especially key for CADIC clusters since the quality of the relationships between the cluster partners will greatly condition the emergence of trust and collaboration, and ultimately, the chances of IC to flow. This entails probably that concepts and tools should be given anewed meaning and methodologies and tools challenged to answer the relevant question “Are the relationships between the cluster partners good enough to ensure its development and survival? How good?”
Certainly though, the overall quality of RC is also its quantitative aspects – e.g. number of suppliers or clients, and similar others. It is both its quantitative and qualitative aspects that count to RC performance, the latter being particularly important; i.e. the quality and the nature of the organisational relations between two companies – whether they are more or less cooperative, more short term and even spot or medium term, more strategic or more operational and so on.
Accordingly, a tool that also takes into account the qualitative aspects of organizational relations, and hence the quality of a cluster, has been developed. It draws upon various studies and the research work in this field. In this regard, see especially Migliarese and Corvello (2010)1 and Laise et al. (2005)2.
This proposal includes a concept of the quality of the relationship, a model of the quality of the relations based on four components (Goals, Tools, (Organizational) Rules, Cultural Background) (see Fig. 5.5.1 in The Organisational Relational Model), and one possible simple and easy to fill in questionnaire to evaluate the quality of a single relationship at a specific point of time. The questionnaire can be used in different moments of the life of an organisation. Up to CADIC clusters concerns, it is also advisable that CMs go through it systematically as well.
The definition of Organizational Relation (OR) this questionnaire assumes is the following: an organizational relation is a link between two actors (individuals, organizational units or whole organizations) which is established to achieve a result of common interest; it is neither banal (i.e. the task is relevant for the goals of the organization), nor a pure occasional link.
According to this definition, not every connection is an organizational relation. Only connections that are significant for the participants are ORs. An Organizational Relation is a multi-dimensional link, involving simultaneously economic, technical and organizational dimensions of relations together with other psychological and sociological aspects.
1 Migliarese, P. and Corvello, V. (2010): “Organizational relations in organizational design and engineering”, Int. J. Organizational Design and Engineering, Vol. 1, Iss.1-2, pp.55-68.
2 Laise, D. Migliarese, P. and Verteramo, S. (2005): ”Knowledge Organisation design: A diagnostic tool”, Human Systems Management, Vol. 24, pp.121-131.