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Theories of Interorganizational Relations in the Human Services

University College of Southern Stockholm

Growing concern about fragmentation and alienation in human services has refocused attention on service integration and coordination. This trend is matched by a shift of focus within organizational theory from intra‐ to interorganizational relations.However, there is no one theory of interorganizational relations, and integration efforts may therefore be studied from a multitude of theoretical perspectives. I introduce a selection of the available theoretical perspectives to the study of interorganizational relations in human services: the theory of professions, leadership and organizational learning, economic organization theory, the sociology of knowledge, and postmodernism. In addition to providing a menu of alternative approaches relevant to both practitioners and scholars, I discuss the relative advantages and drawbacks of each perspective.