Hybrid organisations as trading zones: responses to institutional complexity in the shaping of strategic partnerships

Stefan Christoffer Gottlieb*, Nicolaj Frederiksen, Christian Koch, Christian Thuesen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Hybrid organisations have been touted as solutions to a range of societal problems. In a construction context, strategic partnerships, as a particular type of hybrid organisation, have given promises of increased productivity and innovation through business models combining logics and governance structures from both the public and private sectors. Little is however known about how strategic partnerships are established and develop throughout their lifespan by combining different logics in response to institutional complexity. Drawing on a study of a public client’s efforts to create cost efficient services, we analyse the formation of two strategic partnerships as emerging hybrid organisations in the intersection between a market logic, a project logic, a community logic, and an administrative logic. It is shown how different logics are mobilised in the dynamic shaping of the partnerships in response to moments of institutional complexity. On this background, we discuss how the contours of two different forms of hybrid organisation emerged, even though the partnerships initially operated and responded similarly to the institutional demands. On this basis, it is concluded that strategic partnerships can be seen as “trading zones” that follow different trajectories in coping with institutional demands, and hence the development of hybrid organisational forms.
Original languageEnglish
JournalConstruction Management and Economics
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)603-622
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020


  • Collaboration
  • complexity
  • hybrid organisations
  • institutional logics
  • strategic partnerships
  • trading zones


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