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Adoption of strategic networks: evidence from the Hong Kong clothing industry

Mei‐mei Lau (Institute of Textiles and Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Karen Ka‐leung Moon (Institute of Textiles and Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 13 June 2008

Abstract

Purpose

Recent management literature demonstrates a growing interest in strategic networking. The aim of this paper is to explore the adoption of strategic networks using Hong Kong clothing industry as the context because the influence of Asian cultures is under‐researched.

Design/methodology/approach

Three key research questions about asset specificity, years of relationship, and size of the supplier base were developed from the literature. Qualitative data were collected from in‐depth interviews with senior executives at five large clothing companies in Hong Kong.

Findings

The qualitative findings confirm that the specific asset investment, reciprocal or one‐way, has a positive impact on the development of strategic networking; that enterprises strive hard to maintain longer relationships with key supplier members; and that a small supplier base is widely adopted by the sample firms.

Practical implications

The implications for managerial practice are that strong strategic networking is needed as transaction‐specific assets can safeguard the network relationship; that a long‐term relationship enables effective transactions; and that managing a small number of suppliers helps to stabilize network relationships.

Originality/value

This paper represents an initial attempt to include Asian cultures in the study of strategic network concepts within one globalized industry – the Hong Kong clothing industry. The paper also demonstrates to practicing managers how strategic networks made up of manufacturers and their suppliers are adopted and maintained, and in turn, guides practicing managers on how to allocate resources appropriately to develop a strategic network.

Keywords

Citation

Lau, M. and Ka‐leung Moon, K. (2008), "Adoption of strategic networks: evidence from the Hong Kong clothing industry", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp. 342-349. https://doi.org/10.1108/08858620810881610

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited