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An understanding of business networks and the specific processes affecting change in networks is intimately connected to the understanding of the nature of relationships…
An understanding of business networks and the specific processes affecting change in networks is intimately connected to the understanding of the nature of relationships. Relationships constitute the core aspect which connects actors, resources and activities in a business network. Presents an overview of basic features of relationships. Groups relational concepts from the business marketing literature into structural, economic and social dimensions. Outlines a marketing model of three network layers in business networks based on different types of actors. The proposed network layers in the model constitute the production network layer, the resource network layer and the social network layer. Finally, assigns relational concepts to their related network layers in a relationship matrix.
This article aims to understand whether and how a digital transformation strategy (DTS) can strengthen the relationship between network organizations and the…
This article aims to understand whether and how a digital transformation strategy (DTS) can strengthen the relationship between network organizations and the generation/regeneration of their business network commons (BNC). Further, it investigates the role of the DTS in managing the BNC, a critical source of business network success.
A two-year longitudinal case study of an Italian business network operating in the wine sector was conducted.
This study provides theoretical insights into the digital, sustainable shift of a business network. On combining a network's business strategy and its DTS, digital resources are a key driver to promote BNC regeneration. A DTS undertaken to manage, regenerate and preserve the BNC can positively affect organizational variables, such as participatory architecture, and the network-level organizational integration and can help in preventing opportunistic behaviors affecting the BNC. Moreover, the DTS supports quality and social responsibility.
This study focuses on an Italian case and its findings are hence not generalizable. It would be interesting to study sustainable business networks' digital shift in different socioeconomic contexts as well as in different industry settings.
Network SMEs and other stakeholders (institutions, competitors and consumers) can foster the transition from a “business-as-usual” strategy to a long-term strategy for digitalized management of common resources.
The study is at the intersection of, and contributes to, several research streams. It contributes to the digital transformation literature by adding information on the positive externalities of digitalization in the social and economic environment. It also contributes to the early streams of organizational and managerial literature on the BNC.
This study provides a comprehensive framework of adaptation in triadic business relationship settings in the service sector. The framework is based on the industrial…
This study provides a comprehensive framework of adaptation in triadic business relationship settings in the service sector. The framework is based on the industrial network approach (see, e.g., Axelsson & Easton, 1992; Håkansson & Snehota, 1995a). The study describes how adaptations initiate, how they progress, and what the outcomes of these adaptations are. Furthermore, the framework takes into account how adaptations spread in triadic relationship settings. The empirical context is corporate travel management, which is a chain of activities where an industrial enterprise, and its preferred travel agency and service supplier partners combine their resources. The scientific philosophy, on which the knowledge creation is based, is realist ontology. Epistemologically, the study relies on constructionist processes and interpretation. Case studies with in-depth interviews are the main source of data.
The central role of networks in advancing organizational and individual goals is well accepted (Adler & Kwon, 2002; Hite & Hesterly, 2001) in the management and sociology…
The central role of networks in advancing organizational and individual goals is well accepted (Adler & Kwon, 2002; Hite & Hesterly, 2001) in the management and sociology literatures. Networks are made up of two distinct types of ties: strong ties and weak ties. Strong ties refer to the network relationships that are close, stable and binding (Ibarra, 1993), as opposed to weak ties, that are more superficial and lacking in emotional investment. Network theory, however, suggests that strong ties may not provide the most beneficial opportunities for an individual/organization (Burt, 1997; Coleman, 1988) and conclude that in order for a business to succeed the entrepreneur must have a network made up of weak ties.
Boundary setting is identified as an important and highly useful factor, both in management practice and in dealing with phenomena in management research. It has…
Boundary setting is identified as an important and highly useful factor, both in management practice and in dealing with phenomena in management research. It has significant implications for how circumstances and phenomena will be analysed and interpreted. Change – moving or change in nature – is a key factor in all attempts to strategise and economise. The authors argue that boundary setting is critical in analysing and interpreting business problems, both in the practice of management and in business research. The nature and function of boundaries vary. It can be exemplified with two archetypes of organisation – the integrated hierarchy and the connected company. In the first, the basic principle for boundary setting is buffering to protect the company from external variations. In the second type, it is bridging – connecting the company with specific changing factors. One important consequence is that when analysing and handling boundaries, both location and permeability become the central aspects to consider.
This paper exposes the development of markets-as-networks theory from formal inception in the mid-1970s until 2010 state-of-the-art, en route presenting its historical…
This paper exposes the development of markets-as-networks theory from formal inception in the mid-1970s until 2010 state-of-the-art, en route presenting its historical roots. This largely European-based theory challenges the conventional, dichotomous view of the business world as including firms and markets, arguing for the existence of relational governance structures (the so-called “interfirm cooperation”) in addition to hierarchical and transactional ones.
This paper deals with the organizing of interactive product development. Developing products in interaction between firms may provide benefits in terms of specialization, increased innovation, and possibilities to perform development activities in parallel. However, the differentiation of product development among a number of firms also implies that various dependencies need to be dealt with across firm boundaries. How dependencies may be dealt with across firms is related to how product development is organized. The purpose of the paper is to explore dependencies and how interactive product development may be organized with regard to these dependencies.
The analytical framework is based on the industrial network approach, and deals with the development of products in terms of adaptation and combination of heterogeneous resources. There are dependencies between resources, that is, they are embedded, implying that no resource can be developed in isolation. The characteristics of and dependencies related to four main categories of resources (products, production facilities, business units and business relationships) provide a basis for analyzing the organizing of interactive product development.
Three in-depth case studies are used to explore the organizing of interactive product development with regard to dependencies. The first two cases are based on the development of the electrical system and the seats for Volvo’s large car platform (P2), performed in interaction with Delphi and Lear respectively. The third case is based on the interaction between Scania and Dayco/DFC Tech for the development of various pipes and hoses for a new truck model.
The analysis is focused on what different dependencies the firms considered and dealt with, and how product development was organized with regard to these dependencies. It is concluded that there is a complex and dynamic pattern of dependencies that reaches far beyond the developed product as well as beyond individual business units. To deal with these dependencies, development may be organized in teams where several business units are represented. This enables interaction between different business units’ resource collections, which is important for resource adaptation as well as for innovation. The delimiting and relating functions of the team boundary are elaborated upon and it is argued that also teams may be regarded as actors. It is also concluded that a modular product structure may entail a modular organization with regard to the teams, though, interaction between business units and teams is needed. A strong connection between the technical structure and the organizational structure is identified and it is concluded that policies regarding the technical structure (e.g. concerning “carry-over”) cannot be separated from the management of the organizational structure (e.g. the supplier structure). The organizing of product development is in itself a complex and dynamic task that needs to be subject to interaction between business units.
This chapter explores the issue of an outsider entering an existing business network in an interactive, interdependent and interconnected business world. Developing the…
This chapter explores the issue of an outsider entering an existing business network in an interactive, interdependent and interconnected business world. Developing the new venture appears a ‘mission impossible’ as the new venture has no relationship in the relevant network or a tenuous one at best. The critical issue and major difficulty for the new company are to make established business actors perceive that there are good reasons to admit the new venture into the existing business network. The fate of the new venture, its acceptance by at least some other business actors, will largely depend on how the incumbents perceive the new company to affect their existing relational assets which result from past investments. In attempting to become a new node of a business relationship, the ‘management’ of the new venture has to address two issues. First, it has to find some actors interested in relating to the new venture and to engage them in developing the initial business relationships. Second, the new venture has to manage the networking that is combining the initial relationships with each other. The authors identify and discuss six spaces for action for new business ventures related to these two challenges.
This chapter analyses the multiple embeddedness of MNEs, and their participation in solving contemporary societal issues. We aim to increase understanding on the…
This chapter analyses the multiple embeddedness of MNEs, and their participation in solving contemporary societal issues. We aim to increase understanding on the relational processes and network dynamics present in MNEs’ participation in cross-sector partnerships.
Our study addresses the issue of the poor ecological state of the Baltic Sea and illustrates the early developments in cross-sector collaboration. We build on a single exploratory case study of the cooperation of one MNE (IBM) with an environmental NGO (BSAG) in Finland. We analyse how participation in the cross-sector collaboration manifests itself in the external and internal networks of the MNE.
We show that an initiative by the NGO to participate in environmental work was actively adopted within the MNE and led to network changes. These changes concerned both the activation of existing links and the establishment of new links with such actors as authorities and research institutes. The NGO acted as a catalyser and cultural mediator to create a bridge between the MNE and governmental actors.
There is a need to investigate cross-sector collaboration in other contexts – particularly from the perspective of MNEs and (international) business networks. Questions such as how do enduring (business and socio-political) relationships emerge from MNE’s participation in issue networks and how technology that has been developed to solve a specific societal issue may be translated into commercial solutions are especially promising. We also urge scholars to investigate the ties, texture and dynamics (including tensions) of business relationships with those of public actors and civil society.
Participation in cross-sector initiatives may grant an MNE a forerunner position in the creation of new sustainable markets and technologies. It may also create an opportunity to influence policymakers and build new socio-political networks. From the perspective of a subsidiary of an MNE, engagement with cross-sector partnerships may strengthen its voice within the MNE network.
Our study contributes to the understanding of the relationship dynamics between actors in cross-sector collaboration around a societal (environmental) issue. Our analysis illustrates the embeddedness of MNE networks, where actions in the regional and global networks (the representatives of the headquarters) overlap with and strengthen the local actions of the subsidiary.