Structural integration groups in the health care industry
Rotarius, Timothy Mark
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This study focused on how structural integration groups (SIGs) affect competitive advantage. SIGs are a form of interorganizational relationships and are defined in this study as structural linkages between one type of organization and other types of organizations in the same industry. These SIGs represent patterns of structural relationships and are baised on two dimensions: (1) the number of different partners; and (2) the level of interdependence between the partners. The specific configurations of these two dimensions result in unique SIGs that have specific and identifiable characteristics. Organizational membership in specific SIGs is hypothesized to affect the level of competitive advantage of the organization. The context specific backdrop for this study is the health care industry. Specifically, this study focuses on the structural linkages between medical groups and four types of health care organizations: (1) other medical groups; (2) hospitals; (3) managed care organizations; and (4) integrated delivery systems/networks. Using clustering techniques, these medical group structural linkages are analyzed to empirically generate SIGs. These SIGs are, in turn, examined using competitive advantage as the criterion to determine the performance effect of SIGs. The major findings of this study are that: (a) SIGs do exist; (b) SIGs do affect competitive advantage (although in the opposite direction than expected); and (c) selected environmental and organizational characteristics explain much about SIG creation and they affect organizational competitive advantage to a greater extent than do SIGs.