Breaking into collaboration: Communicative strategies for gaining entry when you are not invited

Da Jung Woo, Paul M. Leonardi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Inter-organizational collaborations (IOCs) offer opportunities for organizations to share resources and address complex social problems. Although researchers have cast IOCs as a broadly-inclusive process in which organizations decide to join forces through mutual agreements, many IOCs are not equal partnerships, but are led by a single organization or a tight collection of organizations that have already been convened. This paper explores how new organizations that wish to join ongoing IOCs can navigate their entry when they are not seen as needed or important. Drawing on qualitative data collected through field research of regional planning, including interviews with conveners (urban planners who are the main organizers of IOCs and charged with vetting new potential members) and representatives of 12 different organizations that tried to break into ongoing IOCs, this paper proposes a process model inducted from the findings that describes the communicative practices that enabled and constrained organizations' entries into ongoing IOCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1127-1154
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


  • Conveners
  • Expertise
  • Interorganizational Collaboration
  • Organizational Communication
  • Partnerships


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