The purpose of this paper is to address the topic of business network dynamics and identify different relational paths, as forms of change in business relationships and related types of network change. The paper contributes to the literature on business network dynamics by providing an understanding of relational paths in the context of firms’ internationalization and shading light on different forms of change in business relationships and types of network change. The paper also contributes to the understanding of liabilities in internationalization that has to do with business networks, namely the liability of outsidership.
This paper is based on qualitative research following the multiple case study research approach. The authors propose three cases of internationalizing firms in the fashion industry that follows relational paths corresponding to different forms of change in business relationships that imply different types of network change.
Changes to a firm’s business network may be addressed through relational paths, namely creation of new business relationships (activation), maintenance of existing relationships (integration) and ending of existing relationships (substitution). These relational paths can be considered forms of incremental (integration) and radical (activation and substitution) change in business relationships and lead to different types of network change for business network dynamics that coexist and influence each other within the same firm.
This paper contributes to a better understanding of business network dynamics by showing how firms change their business relationships following different relational paths as the best way to respond to the challenges and new opportunities offered especially by international markets. The present paper has relevant managerial implications since coping with change in business relationships is perhaps one of the most critical and difficult tasks for management, even more critical if compared to the increasing complexity of doing business internationally and the liabilities that firms face in their internationalization process, especially the liability of outsidership.
Guercini, S. and Milanesi, M. (2019), "Understanding changes within business networks: evidences from the international expansion of fashion firms", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 1, pp. 192-204. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-03-2017-0062Download as .RIS
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