Organisations and Projects:
Organisations and projects have well established structures, with a hierarchy, mandates, goals and targets.

But an organisation is more than its structure alone: it is also the power of what people achieve together because of this structure. In this view organisations and projects are special types of networks.

Chains and Alliances:
The same applies to chains and alliances; they are also types of networks, with specific characteristics.

A chain is a network of actors who jointly produce a product. Think for example of the dairy chain, with farmers, suppliers, dairies and retailers (supermarkets). In contrast to an organization (such as a commercial enterprise, a cooperative or a healthcare institution such as a hospital) there is no formal hierarchy. Independent actors rely on each other, and make arrangements to ensure that each supplies his share.

The greatest task for a chain to distribute the costs and benefits in a satisfactory way. Usually power is not evenly distributed, making it more easy for some parties to get hold on the benefits than for others. However, in the end this is harmful for the collective result.

An alliance is a collaboration of independent actors, who see advantages in joining forces. There are formalized agreements about what activities are included in the cooperation . Actors are however less indispensable than in a chain.