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Article
Publication date: 19 May 2020

Matilde Milanesi, Simone Guercini and Annalisa Tunisini

This paper aims to analyze the role of networking through formalization, namely, the adoption of specific contractual forms, in triggering small- and medium-sized…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyze the role of networking through formalization, namely, the adoption of specific contractual forms, in triggering small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs’) qualitative growth. The paper adopts an approach to SMEs’ growth that stresses the multi-dimensionality nature of the concept, which includes not only size but also relationship and capability growth.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative methodology is used, based on the study of cases of SMEs from an Italian fashion district, connected by a specific contractual form – the so-called “network contract” (NC) – promoted by the national government. Two cases of NCs are presented, a vertical and a horizontal network.

Findings

The paper highlighted the positive influence of NCs, intended as a managerial strategy not only aimed at collaboration, on the growth paths of SMEs but also stressed that the influence of NCs cannot be isolated, but acts virtuously together with other variables. Such variables include entrepreneurs’ and managers’ individual traits, the context – industrial district in the two cases under study – in which SMEs operate, the presence of an external actor that stimulates the adoption of NCs.

Originality/value

The focus on qualitative growth, which can be triggered by the formalization of business relationships through contractual forms, contributes to the debate on the nature and content of SMEs’ growth. The awareness of the variables that contribute to SMEs’ growth is crucial for both entrepreneurs and institutional actors who want to create the conditions to undertake paths of qualitative growth.

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal , vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2017

Elisa Martina Martinelli, Annalisa Tunisini and Simone Guercini

This paper explores the most recent contributions to interpreting customer-driven supply chains (CDSCs) under the IMP lens, focusing on the main characteristics that…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper explores the most recent contributions to interpreting customer-driven supply chains (CDSCs) under the IMP lens, focusing on the main characteristics that emerged from a review of the relevant literature. The purpose of this paper is to offer a holistic interpretative framework of major topics covered by the CDSC literature, highlighting both some shared issues and emerging elements using the IMP conceptual framework’s ARA (actor bonds, activity links and resource ties) model.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviewed the literature by searching selected journals using a combination of specific keywords in order to find the most recent contributions on the CDSC theme. The presented analysis allowed an interpretation of the findings through a conceptual framework.

Findings

The findings suggest that the ARA model could be a useful method through which to structure an interpretation of the most recent contributions, in both IMP and the general literature, on the discipline. In particular, three streams of research were identified: the customer closeness strategy, relational strategy, and intra-organizational strategy.

Research limitations/implications

These clusters can be deeply analyzed using the major knowledge on CDSC dynamics. By studying these issues in an integrated way, the implications in terms of competition, generalization of results, constraints, problems, and difficulties of the customer-driven approach could be enhanced. Limitations are the restricted period of time and the absence of empirical research.

Practical implications

Each identified cluster presents the tools that have to be improved in order to implement the customer-driven orientation, which increases the performance and brings an added value for the same supply chain. For this reason, an emerging need is to develop studies on the empirical side that consider the implications in terms of an integrated framework among the three issues.

Originality/value

The paper increases the understanding of CDSCs by using conceptual and interpretative tools developed by the IMP literature. The ARA model allows the creation of a conceptual framework that clarifies, in a holistic way, the most important characteristics that have to be developed in order to improve the CDSC perspective. Recommendations and a research agenda for the implementation of the customer-driven view are derived.

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 25 February 2020

Annalisa Tunisini and Michela Marchiori

The purpose of this paper is to examine network failures and the main reasons why network organizations, intentionally developed by a group of actors to pursue specific…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine network failures and the main reasons why network organizations, intentionally developed by a group of actors to pursue specific goals, become unfruitful and fail in their goals and expectations of creating collective value. The goal of this paper is thus to contribute a better understanding of the reasons network organizations encounter problems in their dynamics that prevent them from reaching the expected outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is firstly based on a literature review finalized to identify the main variables considered as potentially impacting on network failures. Secondly, the paper is based on a survey conducted on 189 strategic networks that highlighted difficulties in achieving their goals. An analysis of the 24 questionnaires returned generated the results discussed. The empirical study concerns strategic networks intentionally created and signed by Italian SMEs according to a specific law designed to promote the development of inter-firm cooperation (“network contracts”).

Findings

The results of the research highlight the role of specific key items related to individual, structural, legitimacy, interaction and governance variables in explaining failures in network organizations. According to the data, failure can occur immediately before the network start-up, resulting in a blocked network or in a subsequent developmental stage, resulting in a dormant network. The empirical research demonstrated that the items affecting network failure differ between blocked and dormant networks. The authors explain such differences, considering them according to the expected goals declared by the two different types of networks.

Originality/value

The question of why networks fail is relevant in times of disruption and digitalization when new forms of organization are needed to link businesses and various stakeholders and thereby develop innovative and sustainable ideas for an entrepreneurial future. However, very few studies have examined network failure. The study contributes to this field of research by investigating the dynamics of networks intentionally developed to reach shared goals. The findings can be useful to both companies that decide to start up a strategic network and the policymakers that promote, finance and monitor inter-firm collaboration.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 35 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Simone Guercini and Annalisa Tunisini

The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue of “formalization” in business networks as an instrument of industrial policy. Formalization in business networks is not…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue of “formalization” in business networks as an instrument of industrial policy. Formalization in business networks is not a debated topic but it can affect organizational and inter-organizational dynamics considerably. The aim of the paper is to understand if the introduction of a normative tool that enhances formalized networks can be effective to promote network aggregations among SMEs. Second, the aim is to understand if this formalization supports good-working networks, i.e., capable to introduce new products or to enter new markets/customers.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper refers to a review of the literature and mainly to an empirical research on formalized network contracts (NCs) that have been conducted in the latest two years. This research has used both secondary data, collected accessing to databases and reports given by institutions and the government, and primary data, collected in specific direct interviews. These interviews have been concerned both institutions such as Chamber of Commerce, Confindustria and the Ministry of Economic Development and the Small Business Association, and 15 cases of NCs in Italy.

Findings

The formalization has consequences both internally and externally to the NC. Internally it can act as an element to reduce ambiguity and building elements of “fragile trust,” in the absence of basic elements of “resilient trust” and in the presence of changes in the competitive environment. Externally, the formalization through the NC allows the policy maker to identify more clearly companies’ aggregations in order to let them being destination of specific industrial policies. However even if the formalization has in some cases enhanced new networks’ creation, in many cases formalization has generated positive results when companies had already experienced networking outside the frame of the NC.

Research limitations/implications

Further research on formalization in networks should be developed following the “history” of formalized networks over time in order to understand how much formalization should be used as a long-term tool for industrial policy.

Practical implications

The paper can be useful both for companies that want to sign a NC and for the institutions developing industrial policies devoted to support companies’ aggregations in the form of NC.

Originality/value

The paper presents a new legal tool – the “NC” – introduced in 2009 by the Italian Government to enhance firms’ aggregation; second, the paper debates the topic of formalization in networks that is not much debated in literature; and finally, the paper also adopts an industrial economic approach and is among the few attempts to integrate industrial policies and industrial marketing and purchasing thinking.

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

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Article
Publication date: 30 October 2018

Elisa Martina Martinelli and Annalisa Tunisini

The purpose of this paper is to explore the topic of customer integration into supply chains. Particular attention is focused on literature concerning customer-driven and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the topic of customer integration into supply chains. Particular attention is focused on literature concerning customer-driven and customer-centric supply chains. The aim is to provide a deeper understanding of these two approaches, clarify the differences, compare them and provide a conceptual model and research propositions, leading to theoretical and managerial implications.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a systematic literature review conducted using a consolidated methodology. The protocol used allows for the identification, analysis, synthesis, reporting and discussion of the results stemming from the literature on customer integration into the supply chain. This analysis enables us to summarize the results in a conceptual framework and introduce new research propositions.

Findings

Using the results of the literature review, the authors first systematized the literature on customer-driven supply chain and on customer-centric supply chain in the conceptual framework. For each of the two sets of studies, the authors highlighted three main streams of research concerning customer integration into the supply chain. The authors analyzed three different topics: why customer integration is needed, how customer integration takes place and which intra-organizational issues are necessary to implement customer integration into the supply chain. Second, the authors developed a conceptual framework to confront customer-driven and customer-centric approaches to supply chain management in an evolutionary perspective. The authors thus formulated research propositions aimed at entering in greater depth the management of the shift from the customer-driven to customer-centric supply chain.

Research limitations/implications

The systematic literature analysis developed in the paper contributed to more integrated and comprehensive knowledge of customer integration into the supply chain. The paper identifies and describes the characteristics of different supply chain approaches through the organization and interpretation of academics’ contributions. The paper suggests the need for further research in at least three areas: the study of variables supporting customer-driven or customer-centric approaches, the relevant intra-organizational issues underscoring the customer-centric supply chain and the impact of digitalization on supply chain processes.

Practical implications

The paper outlines the main structural elements that compose the customer-driven and customer-centric supply chains. The results of the systematic analysis of the literature can be used to inform managers about the different levels and approaches for achieving customer integration. These diverse configurations of customer integration imply administrative and organizational considerations. Major issues to be considered when managers want to integrate the customer into the supply chain are identified. In addition, conditions underscoring different options – namely, customer-driven and customer-centric supply chains – are provided.

Originality/value

The originality of this work lies in the systematic review of literature examining customer integration into supply chains, which highlights two main levels of customer integration: customer-driven and customer-centric. The main contribution is the formulation of a conceptual framework and new research propositions from the comparison and merger of these two configurations. The information presented in this paper enhances the literature on recent developments in customer integration, thereby enabling managers to select the most suitable configuration for the supply chain structure.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 34 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2015

Annalisa Tunisini and Roberta Sebastiani

This paper aims to highlight the evolving and articulated role of purchasing as a “mediator” between the company’s customers and suppliers, thus showing the opportunities…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to highlight the evolving and articulated role of purchasing as a “mediator” between the company’s customers and suppliers, thus showing the opportunities connected to the evolution of purchasing from a business function to a strategic business for companies.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports on an in-depth analysis to investigate the case of IBM, which turned to the offering of services to transform itself from a pure product manufacturer into an outstanding service provider.

Findings

The paper shows that as the company’s business strategy becomes focused on client value, its success is strongly dependent on the development of a customer-driven procurement. The evolution of the role of procurement is accompanied by the growing integration between the company’s procurement and sales functions, as well as by the growing interconnection and interaction between the procurement function and the company’s clients.

Originality/value

The paper applies the conceptual approach and theoretical tools connected to servitization and procurement development processes to an innovative case study. The results make possible original suggestions both for literatures and management practices.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 30 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 30 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Book part
Publication date: 17 August 2017

Simone Guercini and Annalisa Tunisini

This chapter addresses the topic of ‘localisation policies’ (measures and incentives for attracting and developing companies) in relation to the actual subjects of such…

Abstract

This chapter addresses the topic of ‘localisation policies’ (measures and incentives for attracting and developing companies) in relation to the actual subjects of such policies, their aims and targets. The existence of business relationships and networks, and the ubiquity of interaction processes make contemporary policy measures problematic in all these three aspects. Conceiving the business landscape as interactive and heterogeneous business networks leads the authors to argue that policy measures become ineffective when these neglect the networked nature of the business landscape. It is argued that localisation policies consist of multiple initiatives and involve ‘a network of policy actors’, rather than only one institution. Acknowledging the plurality of policy actors and means leads to focus on the need to orchestrate multifaceted localisation policies. Incentives, regulatory frameworks and public investments are some of the elements of the toolbox of localisation policy. The authors also argue that the business network perspective translates into the need to tailor policy measures differentiated for specific companies.

Details

No Business is an Island
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-550-4

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 30 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2015

Simone Guercini and Andrea Runfola

This paper aims to study the role of the focal firm in local communities. In particular, it aims at analyzing such firms’ contribution to innovation, proposing a…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to study the role of the focal firm in local communities. In particular, it aims at analyzing such firms’ contribution to innovation, proposing a classification of the interactions and role systems that contribute to determining the innovational impact of focal firms.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a concept-based study. The paper starts with a review of the literature to frame the concepts of local network and focal firm. Two key concepts, related to that of interaction, are then discussed: teaching and learning.

Findings

The paper proposes a taxonomy of the interactions and the roles systems that the focal firm can establish. The status of focal actor for innovation in a network stems, not from an “a priori” central strategic role on which the actor builds its interactions, but “a posteriori”, from the actor’s previously recognized roles in interactions on which network innovation is based. The local system may or may not be present in the interaction set of the business network. The interactions and roles systems define the type of local system.

Research limitations/implications

Research implications regard three main aspects: the different roles in the interactions; the types of actors in the local system; and the types of local systems involved in the processes of innovation.

Originality/value

The paper furnishes an original interpretation by focusing on focal firms as leaders in the innovation process, in the attempt to reconcile the “macro” perspective of local systems with the “micro” perspective of the individual firm.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 30 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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