Coordination for shared knowledge creation in the development and management of inter-organizational business processes

Research output: ThesisDissertationCollection of Articles


The digitalization of products and services is forcing companies to develop their business, which increasingly takes place in inter-organizational business processes in order to provide enlarged product and service offerings. While developing inter-organizational business, knowledge about future collaborative business needs to be created and the collaborative work between companies needs to be coordinated. The creation of knowledge about future inter-organizational business and the coordination of collaborative work are complex social processes, which need to be further studied in order to better develop and manage inter-organizational business processes. This article dissertation sets out to empirically study inter-organizational coordination and the creation of knowledge about future common business in three contexts: 1) Two business units of a Finnish media company that had diverged due to the digitalization of their products and services, 2) An IT provider organization and its customer network of three bank alliances operating in Finland facing the digitalization of their core service processes, and 3) Two US-based hospital construction projects that used advanced information and communication technology in their multi-organizational design processes. One project applied dyadic contracts, whereas the other project applied a multi-party contract. This dissertation provides new scientific understanding about the process of coordination, the process of knowledge sharing and creation, and the relationships between these processes when developing and managing inter-organizational business processes. The dissertation finds that the collaborating companies need to together create shared knowledge about their future business in order to develop their common business processes. The findings of the dissertation show that carefully designed and facilitated process modeling and simulation workshops support the collaborative effort to create shared knowledge about common business by enabling the organizations to cross their knowledge boundaries. In addition, the dissertation provides knowledge about the procedural coordination mechanisms of collaborative work that support inter-organizational knowledge sharing and creation. The findings indicate that inter-organizational coordination, applying coordination mechanisms that have been collaboratively created, promote knowledge sharing and the creation of shared knowledge about common business, and thus the development and management of common digitalizing business.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor Degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Smeds, Riitta, Supervisor, External person
  • Jaatinen, Miia, Advisor, External person
Award date15 Aug 2015
Print ISBNs978-952-60-6289-1
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-6290-7
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • coordination
  • inter-organizational
  • business process development
  • knowledge sharing
  • knowledge creation
  • digitalization
  • koordinointi
  • yritystenvälinen
  • liiketoimintaprosessin kehittäminen
  • tiedon jakaminen
  • tiedon luominen
  • digitalisaatio


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