How changes in the organizing and managing of meta-organizations contribute to their performance
Drawing on previous literature and an explorative in-depth case study of the representative organization of over 700 industrial and logistics organizations in Europe’s largest port, we examine how meta-organizations (cf. Gulati, Puranam & Tushman, 2012) improve their performance by changing how they are organized and managed. From a network level of analysis, this performance is determined by the overall contribution of their activities and related products to the long-term collective goals of the constituent, legally autonomous member organizations. These activities typically include standardization, collaborative action and member-interaction. Our contribution to the emerging body of meta-organization studies is twofold. First, the case shows how renewal of meta-organizational activities can be advanced over time by (1) changes in organizing as regards a meta- organization’s structure and associated roles of its members, board, office staff and external stakeholders, and (2) changes in meta-management practices within the meta-organization. The findings add to a more integral understanding of the role of changes in organizing and managing meta- organizations in renewing their goal-directed activities and, in turn, improving their performance. Second, drawing on the findings and previous literature, we develop a conceptual framework and propositions that provide directions in which meta-organization studies might be usefully enriched.