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Book part
Publication date: 24 August 2011

Morten H. Abrahamsen

The study here examines how business actors adapt to changes in networks by analyzing their perceptions or their network pictures. The study is exploratory or iterative in…

Abstract

The study here examines how business actors adapt to changes in networks by analyzing their perceptions or their network pictures. The study is exploratory or iterative in the sense that revisions occur to the research question, method, theory, and context as an integral part of the research process.

Changes within networks receive less research attention, although considerable research exists on explaining business network structures in different research traditions. This study analyzes changes in networks in terms of the industrial network approach. This approach sees networks as connected relationships between actors, where interdependent companies interact based on their sensemaking of their relevant network environment. The study develops a concept of network change as well as an operationalization for comparing perceptions of change, where the study introduces a template model of dottograms to systematically analyze differences in perceptions. The study then applies the model to analyze findings from a case study of Norwegian/Japanese seafood distribution, and the chapter provides a rich description of a complex system facing considerable pressure to change. In-depth personal interviews and cognitive mapping techniques are the main research tools applied, in addition to tracer studies and personal observation.

The dottogram method represents a valuable contribution to case study research as it enables systematic within-case and across-case analyses. A further theoretical contribution of the study is the suggestion that network change is about actors seeking to change their network position to gain access to resources. Thereby, the study also implies a close relationship between the concepts network position and the network change that has not been discussed within the network approach in great detail.

Another major contribution of the study is the analysis of the role that network pictures play in actors' efforts to change their network position. The study develops seven propositions in an attempt to describe the role of network pictures in network change. So far, the relevant literature discusses network pictures mainly as a theoretical concept. Finally, the chapter concludes with important implications for management practice.

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Interfirm Networks: Theory, Strategy, and Behavior
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-024-7

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Book part
Publication date: 25 July 2008

Timothy J. Rowley and Joel A.C. Baum

In this study, we seek to broaden the research focus in the strategic alliance literature from a firm's “partner strategy” to its “network strategy” by linking a firm's…

Abstract

In this study, we seek to broaden the research focus in the strategic alliance literature from a firm's “partner strategy” to its “network strategy” by linking a firm's partnering choices to changes in its network position over time. Using data on all underwriting syndicates in Canada over nearly 40 years, we conceptualize and model the interplay between an investment bank's own and its partners’ syndicate participation. Our findings indicate that the lead banks, which have greater discretion in choosing syndicate partners than co-lead banks, are more likely to make partner selections that create bridging positions that provide access to timely and non-redundant information as well as opportunities to play a broker role across unconnected others. We also find, however, that lead banks’ bridging positions deteriorate when they form ties with other lead banks. Network-based competitive advantages are thus influenced by network opportunities and constraints as well as partner-specific concerns, suggesting that new insights into the dynamics of interfirm networks and competitive advantage of firms are possible within this broader view.

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Network Strategy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1442-3

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Book part
Publication date: 25 July 2008

Diederik W. van Liere, Otto R. Koppius and Peter H.M. Vervest

We propose an information-based view of the dynamics of network positions and use it to explain why bridging positions become stronger. We depart from previous network

Abstract

We propose an information-based view of the dynamics of network positions and use it to explain why bridging positions become stronger. We depart from previous network dynamics studies that implicitly assume that firms have homogenous information about the network structure. Using network experiments with both students and managers, we vary a firm's network horizon (i.e., how much information a firm has about the network structure) and the network horizon heterogeneity (i.e., how this information is distributed among the firms within the network). Our results indicate that firms with a higher network horizon occupy a stronger bridging position, especially under conditions of high network horizon heterogeneity. At a more general level, these results provide an indirect validation of what so far has been an untested assumption in interfirm network research, namely that firms are aware of their position in the overall network and consciously attempt to improve their position.

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Network Strategy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1442-3

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Book part
Publication date: 19 August 2021

Kristin L. Cullen-Lester, Caitlin M. Porter, Hayley M. Trainer, Pol Solanelles and Dorothy R. Carter

The field of Human Resource Management (HRM) has long recognized the importance of interpersonal influence for employee and organizational effectiveness. HRM research and…

Abstract

The field of Human Resource Management (HRM) has long recognized the importance of interpersonal influence for employee and organizational effectiveness. HRM research and practice have focused primarily on individuals’ characteristics and behaviors as a means to understand “who” is influential in organizations, with substantially less attention paid to social networks. To reinvigorate a focus on network structures to explain interpersonal influence, the authors present a comprehensive account of how network structures enable and constrain influence within organizations. The authors begin by describing how power and status, two key determinants of individual influence in organizations, operate through different mechanisms, and delineate a range of network positions that yield power, reflect status, and/or capture realized influence. Then, the authors extend initial structural views of influence beyond the positions of individuals to consider how network structures within and between groups – capturing group social capital and/or shared leadership – enable and constrain groups’ ability to influence group members, other groups, and the broader organizational system. The authors also discuss how HRM may leverage these insights to facilitate interpersonal influence in ways that support individual, group, and organizational effectiveness.

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Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-430-5

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2009

Brian Low and Wesley J. Johnston

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how and why staying on the edge of emerging and converging technologies is significant for businesses to create the most…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how and why staying on the edge of emerging and converging technologies is significant for businesses to create the most vibrant, adaptive and complex behaviors, including a wider range of business relational initiatives (e.g. outsourcing, opportunistic partnership, merger and alliance, acquisition), and a better sense of which initiative to choose.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an inductive, interpretative case study complemented by hands‐on experience with the industry.

Findings

Appreciating why existing proprietary technologies need to be replaced with new robust and open technologies is important. Knowing when and how existing and emerging technologies would converge is even better. Developing an understanding of the likely impact of this convergence on existing network structure and network position is critical.

Originality/value

For practitioners the paper presents a framework for examining business relational initiatives at any given point in time and identifying a positioning path over time to shift the firm's network position. For academics it advances one's understanding on how various business relational initiatives are influenced by network structure and network position at the network level.

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Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 24 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2000

Brian Low and Ian Wilkinson

Existing business marketing theory often overstates the importance of competitive positioning when undertaking market entry strategy, although most theory acknowledge the…

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1401

Abstract

Existing business marketing theory often overstates the importance of competitive positioning when undertaking market entry strategy, although most theory acknowledge the need to develop strategies based on an analysis of the market structure. Indeed, as business marketers offering distance learning, universities are quick to embrace competitive positioning based on an analysis of the market structure. The same level of enthusiasm, however, has not been shown on network positioning based on an analysis of the network structure. Understanding and applying network positioning could confer a different but equally important perspective impacting on the market entry strategies of a university. This article attempts to fill these gaps and demonstrate its application in the context of Australian universities planning to enter the Malaysian distance learning education market, with local colleges acting as intermediaries.

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Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2012

H. Cenk Sozen

Social network theory can help management scholars to understand how the pattern of social ties between employees can lead to unpredictable consequences. Sometimes people…

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3557

Abstract

Purpose

Social network theory can help management scholars to understand how the pattern of social ties between employees can lead to unpredictable consequences. Sometimes people occupying lower positions in organizations, like junior‐level secretaries, can be quite powerful and effective. Such consequences appear to be related to their status in the social networks they operate. The aim of this paper is to determine the level of the relationship between the network status and power of junior‐level office secretaries.

Design/methodology/approach

Two different methodological approaches were used to test the basic claims of this study. First, social network analysis was applied to network data gathered from 80 employees working in six academic departments and four administrative units, and then qualitative research techniques were used to explain the findings of the study. Interviews were carried out with 35 academicians.

Findings

The findings suggest that the secretaries have strong positions in terms of brokerage and network centrality. The results of interviews indicate that they use their social connections between academic and administrative departments to create various kinds of dependencies.

Practical implications

This research shows that secretaries may have high power potential in organizations, and those who are aware of their strong positions in a social network can use this for their self‐interests.

Originality/value

Social network theory and methodology have never been used to determine and explain the critical role of secretaries in organizations in the management literature. This study may give management scholars further ideas to explain how some organizational positions can provide advantage to the focal actors to construct social ties in organizations.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 41 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article
Publication date: 7 January 2014

Anni-Kaisa Kähkönen

This paper aims to analyze the influence of power on the depth of collaboration by discussing the power relations and collaborative relationships between buyers and…

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4403

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyze the influence of power on the depth of collaboration by discussing the power relations and collaborative relationships between buyers and suppliers in networks. The aim is to shed light on how power position in a network influences the depth of collaboration.

Design/methodology/approach

The study utilizes a case research as a method and analyzes a network from the Finnish food industry. The empirical data comprises 29 semi-structured interviews conducted among the personnel of four case companies.

Findings

The findings of the study suggest that the network actors' power relations affect the form of the relationships. It seems that power influences the depth of collaboration, which is minimal if the actors do not have balanced power positions. Highlighting the importance of the network context, the results also indicate that the role and position in the network may crucially determine the character of the power relations if the actors are otherwise in balanced positions.

Practical implications

The results have implications for purchasing and supply chain managers and practitioners in terms of shedding light on the relation between power and collaboration. It enhances understanding of how power influences collaboration, and of how a wider network perspective could determine the power relations between the companies. Managers need to be aware of the effects of power on the nature of their relationships and, moreover, on the depth of collaboration. This enhances their ability to determine their positions in relation to other companies, and to develop relationships offering opportunities for deeper collaboration.

Originality/value

The literature review reveals that the issues of power and collaboration in the network context have rarely been connected and discussed in relation to each other. This constitutes a clear and notable research gap given the implication that the relation between power and collaboration, in terms of the influence of power position, is still an unexplored area. Moreover, whereas most previous studies on the phenomenon of power concentrate on analyzing dyadic relationships, this study raises the question of the network context.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2017

Anna-Greta Nyström, Joachim Ramstrom and Jan-Åke Törnroos

The purpose of this paper is to study how insights from socio-cognitivism (sensemaking and interaction) in conjunction with institutional theory enhance our knowledge of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study how insights from socio-cognitivism (sensemaking and interaction) in conjunction with institutional theory enhance our knowledge of strategizing in business networks through role and position.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is conceptual and reviews extant literature from the fields under scrutiny, presenting and analyzing new combined approaches.

Findings

Current writings concerning strategizing in networks need to be supplemented in the area of strategic business network research. Interaction, sensemaking and institutionalization, as well as the network in which a firm is embedded, are important for strategically developing network positions and the roles of actors.

Research limitations/implications

This conceptual paper suggests mechanisms affecting role and position in networks and calls for empirical research to deepen the understanding of the change forces at play in embedded relational situations for firms.

Originality value

This study adds to current conceptual knowledge of strategizing in business networks. It presents a comprehensive perspective in viewing how key forces impact on the strategic position and role of corporate actors (both managers and firms) in networks.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 32 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Book part
Publication date: 8 April 2013

Richard A. Benton

Purpose – This study assesses the extent to which four features of work – supervision, autonomy, creativity, and skill – are associated with different structural forms of…

Abstract

Purpose – This study assesses the extent to which four features of work – supervision, autonomy, creativity, and skill – are associated with different structural forms of social capital. Social capital may enhance actors’ access to diverse information and resources or it may foster mutual commitment and trust. Actors’ draw on these social connections, and the resources embedded therein, when they engage in work activities. The study considers how dense and diverse network structures serve complementary functions to actors engaged in creative and autonomous jobs or for reproducing inequality within firms.Methodology – The analysis uses nationally representative survey data and the position-generator approach to social capital measurement to determine the relationship between three social capital constructs – diversity, hierarchy, and density – and respondents’ work characteristics.Findings – Supervisory, autonomous, creative, and highly skilled workers all have more diverse social networks. Supervisors and skilled workers also have access to high-status contacts. Finally, creative and autonomous workers have more dense social networks.Originality/value – Findings suggest that density and diversity are useful to actors engaged in self-directed or creative work tasks. These findings support theories of complementary network structures that combine access to unique information with the collective ability to pursue goals.

Details

Networks, Work and Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-539-5

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