In this paper, we propose to expound the various dimensions of proximity with a view to emphasising the institutional and organisational dimensions of inter-firm relations. To that end, we set out to define, in a first part, the various forms of geographic, institutional and organisational proximity, and to put them into perspective. The dual role of geographic proximity as a source of conflicts and resource for collective action is underlined. We then intend to show that the institution generates a so-called form of institutional proximity which, for the actors, refers to common meanings they have to share, as well as to the setting of complementary roles they have to play in collective action. As for organisational proximity, it is understood as a particular form of institutional proximity combining cognitive coordination with political coordination. In a second part, we propose to apply the theoretical framework so conceived to analyse the vertical relations between Airbus and its subcontracting network.
Keywords: proximities, institution, organisation, coordination, subcontracting, aeronautics, Airbus