Acquisition in a World of Joint Capabilities: Methods for Understanding Cross-Organizational Network Performance

Report Number: SYM-AM-16-052

Series: Acquisition Management

Category: Risk Management

Report Series: Symposium Proceedings

Authors: Mary M. Brown, Zachary Mohr

Title: Acquisition in a World of Joint Capabilities: Methods for Understanding Cross-Organizational Network Performance

Published: 2016-05-01

Sponsored By: Acquisition Research Program

Status: Published--Unlimited Distribution

Research Type: Other Research Faculty

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Keywords: Cross-organizational networks, contagion modeling


Increasingly, government managers are turning to cross-organizational networks for the acquisition and delivery of services. The use of networks is lauded as a means to eliminate service gaps, achieve synergistic benefits, and provide better buying power. Cross-organizational networks now support a large number of local, state, and federal level activities (i.e., health care, social services, emergency management, and transportation). It has long been recognized that organizations are susceptible to the vagaries of their environment and that performance is often a function of how well organizations adapt to environmental fluctuations (Ashby, 1954; Holland, 1975). Despite the popularity of networks, little is known about the unique risks they encounter and the susceptibility of cascades. The objectives of this research are to (1) identify the exposure and vulnerability mechanisms that relate to cross-organizational network risk, contagion, and performance; (2) provide managerial recommendations on cross-organizational networks as a form of service delivery; and (3) provide a theoretical framework for conceptualizing cross-organizational networks as a service delivery option. This research models the Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MPADs) as a network of interconnecting programs and employs Contagion Modeling (mixed effects linear regression with a modularity maximization algorithm) as a method for understanding MDAP performance. The presentation will provide the statistical results gained from the contagion modeling and provide insights on risk susceptibility. Understanding the nature of how exposure triggers state changes across networks levels is likely to yield new strategies on how to manage network risk.