Relational Leadership Within Business Partnerships In India: A Process Framework

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Dominik Fischer
Preeti Singh


Relational Leadership, Case Study, Business Partnership, India


Inter-organizational partnerships are an essential mechanism for corporations to access resources, particularly in emerging markets. This study is concerned with the steps relating to how multinational corporations in India create, develop, and evaluate their partnerships based on relationships. In the context of business-to-business partnerships, the researchers aim to (i) create a relational leadership process framework for how these relationships are built, and (ii) analyze if relational governance through relational leadership is complementary or rather a substitute to formal contracts in the context of such business-to-business partnerships. A case study-based research design is employed to explore relational leadership in business partnerships in India, thereby incorporating case studies based on interviews from nine internationally operating corporations. A process framework for relational leadership with six distinct steps on how to develop business partnerships in India was developed. Furthermore, the researchers found that the framework complements the relational governance processes supported by relational leadership and formal contracts when engaging in business partnerships in India. The study’s main aim was to contribute to the current theory in the emergent field of relational leadership. Practitioners responsible for partnership building among corporations can gain insights from the framework into the application of relational leadership. The results indicate that corporations can maintain long-term partnerships if specific relational governance mechanisms mainly supported by the application of relational leadership are in place.


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