The coopetition paradox and tension in coopetition at multiple levels

Tatbeeq Raza-Ullah, Maria Bengtsson, Sören Kock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

300 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the nature of the paradox inherent in coopetition; that is, the simultaneous pursuit of cooperation and competition between firms, and emanating tensions that develop at individual, organizational, and inter-organizational levels. We dissect the anatomy of the coopetition paradox to discover how it materializes by creating an external boundary (i.e., via unifying forces) and internal boundaries (i.e., via divergent forces). After explaining the coopetition paradox, we distinguish tension from paradox and submit that tension comprises both positive and negative emotions simultaneously, also known as emotional ambivalence. Finally, we recognize that emotional ambivalence in coopetition prevails at different levels, and vary in its level of intensity and persistency in relation to different contexts. We employ illustrative cases to ground our propositions empirically. This article provides understanding on concepts, expects to incite fruitful dialogue, and fuels further studies on inter-firm paradoxes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Peer-reviewed scientific journalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 02.2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • KOTA2014

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