The Partnering Paradox
(The fourth of five paradoxes)
... success in a common purpose requires severability of cause and effect
Globalization is creating a reconfiguration of business enterprises internationally. The objective these days is to be the most efficient at producing a good or service and, when it is more efficient to do so, engage the services of others as a partner toward the desired outcome. The notion of partnering suggests two or more business entities sharing a common purpose. The parties therefore work together: each contributing to its best advantage for the overall greater good. What can be lost in the enthusiasm of cooperation are the entitlements of each party: "partnering," the spirit of working together versus a "partnership," being jointly and distinctly liable.
In the MBR, MBM, and some MBO environments, the causation, or attribution of cause
and effect, to one of the parties is determinable due to TSR (illustrated in Figure
A6). In MBV, however, the partnership is much closer, and the causation is less
clear. With an information technology system, for example, Party A may attempt to
transfer the obligation for implementing of a system to Party B through a clearly
defined contract document. However, as long as Party A continues to control and influence
the environment within which Party B must implement its part of the bargain, the causation
is obscured. Notwithstanding best intentions to draw a boundary between their respective
obligations at the outset with a carefully drafted contract instrument, maintaining
a privity of contract is dependent on this causation more than on the printed word.
Figure A6: Total System Responsibility (TSR)
For MBVs, the obscuring of influence over the destiny of the work is by and large
the determining factor (illustrated in Figure A7). The danger
for MBV is that once two parties are engaged in a true legal partnership, both parties
become liable, and seemingly neither is responsible.
Figure A7: Level 4 Partnerships