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Managing networks of interorganizational linkages and sustainable firm performance in business‐to‐business service contexts

Andreas B. Eisingerich (Tanaka Business School, Imperial College London, London, UK)
Simon J. Bell (Department of Management and Marketing, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 10 October 2008

Abstract

Purpose

Current marketing theory and practice have recognized that exchanges between buyers and sellers are frequently embedded in social relationships. Despite the vast body of research on interorganizational exchange, there has been little effort to address the role of larger social networks in which business‐to‐business services firms operate. This paper seeks to present a model of how social network theory can help in understanding why some services firms manage to reinvent themselves and continue to succeed in a business‐to‐business environment, while others are slow to change and decline.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on 81 in‐depth interviews conducted with general managers/chief executive officers operating in information technology, and biotechnology business‐to‐business services contexts, we consider the relative importance of both network strength and network openness in driving business performance.

Findings

The authors identify both network strength between firms and openness towards new actors as underpinning competitive advantage in business‐to‐business services.

Research limitations/implications

Data were collected for service firms operating in two different industries in two regions. The paper underscores the importance of examining the network properties that connect exchange partners when discussing firm performance in business‐to‐business service contexts.

Originality/value

The paper makes a series of important contributions to the small, but growing literature on services networks and has direct implications for managers.

Keywords

Citation

Eisingerich, A.B. and Bell, S.J. (2008), "Managing networks of interorganizational linkages and sustainable firm performance in business‐to‐business service contexts", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 22 No. 7, pp. 494-504. https://doi.org/10.1108/08876040810909631

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited