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Über dieses Buch

Collaboration of organizations reshapes traditional managerial practices and creates new inter-organizational contexts for strategy, coordination and control, information and knowledge management. Heralded as organizational forms of the future, networks are at the same time fragile and precarious organizational arrangements, which regularly fail. In order to investigate the new realities created by technology-enabled forms of network organizations and to address the emerging managerial challenges, this book introduces an integrative view on inter-firm network management. Centred on a network life cycle perspective, strategic, economic and relational facets of business networking are explored. The network management framework is illustrated onto a broad range of European inter-firm network examples in various industries rendering insights for new management practices.



Framing Inter-firm Network Management


Chapter 1. Networks as Orchestrations: Management in IT-enabled Inter-firm Collaborations

In which way does network management display the characteristics of networked modes of organising? Based on a brief digest of the history, motives and alleged benefits of network arrangements, the chapter elaborates on modes of managing networks. It does so by reflecting in particular the role of information and communication technology for and in networks. As conclusion a balanced view of networks is articulated.
Angeliki Poulymenakou, Stefan Klein

Chapter 2. Network Management Framework

The chapter identifies and highlights network specific management issues. It does so by presenting a walk-through of the DOMINO network management framework. The different views and building blocks are introduced and respective management challenges are elaborated.
Kai Riemer, Stefan Klein

Elaboration on Network Management — Core Themes in Select Industry Settings


Chapter 3. Connecting Company Strategy and Network Identity

Current literature has explained how strategic interorganisational relations can be of concern for management. However when it comes to explain the causalities between theses relations and corporate strategies, it is less elaborated. As companies today more than ever operate in networks of relations it is of crucial importance to understand how these networks should be dealt with in relation to corporate strategy. The aim of this empirical study is thus to conceptualize how strategic relations are managed in accordance with the overall corporate strategy. Thus it tries to answer: Are there important connections between a firm’s network strategy and its corporate strategy?
Heidi Jørgensen, Christian Vintergaard

Chapter 4. Institutional Design of Mixed-mode Electronic Marketplaces

Based on a critical reflection of transaction cost economics, the chapter elaborates the notion of institutional design and distinguishes different layers of design. Moreover the notion of governance structures — and subsequently the design framework — is expanded to reflect the specifics of multilevel forms of coordination, in particular mixed-mode electronic marketplaces. Mixed-mode marketplaces encompass different modes of coordination, including network coordination, under the institutional framework of a market. The notion of mixed-mode governance structures will be elaborated as it runs contrary to Williamson’s distinct forms of governance, namely hierarchies, networks (or hybrids), and markets. The chapter concludes with suggestions for institutional design which reflect the competition among markets and other forms of governance.
Marcel Gogolin, Stefan Klein

Chapter 5. Portfolio Management of R&D Collaborations in Mobile Commerce

Many companies in the cross section of telecommunication and mobile technology engage in R&D collaborations to manage uncertainty, create synergies and learn. While the challenges of managing individual collaborations are well documented, little is known on how to systematically manage several R&D collaborations simultaneously. We use modern portfolio theory as an analogy to show how companies active in mobile telecommunication manage risks and create synergies by simultaneously engaging in several inter-firm collaborations.
Volker Mahnke, Mikkel Lucas Overby, Lars Engels Nielsen

Chapter 6. The Role of Social Capital in Managing Relationships with IT Suppliers

A Case Study in Electronic Commerce
Contemporary E-Commerce solutions are often developed and delivered in inter-firm setups with various business partners involved. Furthermore, E-Commerce projects are often characterised by innovative, ill-structured tasks that depend on new technologies to develop new business concepts. Management of E-Commerce projects and the subsequently resulting relationships with business partners thus is challenging and demanding. Surprisingly, project and partner management issues in E-Commerce have been largely unaddressed so far. Based on case study research, this paper takes an inter-firm perspective of E-Commerce and addresses characteristic features of multi partner E-Commerce projects. We argue that management in complex inter-firm relationships must to a significant extent rely on informal and social mechanisms of coordination due to the non-contractible nature of ill-structured tasks. Social capital theory referring to the value of social relationships and networks is used to guide this research. Based on our case study analysis, we are able to distinguish different types and life-cycle phases of E-Commerce relationships and subsequently to identify different roles of social capital. By applying social capital theory we are not only able to point out management implications, but also to enrich the general discussion of social aspects in inter-firm relationships which to date is largely dominated by concepts like trust and culture.
Kai Riemer

Chapter 7. The Influence of Power Relations on Interorganisational Identification in Buyer-Supplier Relationships of the Automotive Industry

This paper focuses on gaining sustainable competitive advantage in supply chain collaboration. It is based on an empirical study of more than 200 buyer-supplier relationships in the Automotive industry. Our analysis is dedicated to answering the question why and under what conditions some supplier-buyer relationships are more successful than others. Latest research in the automotive industry has revealed that suppliers engaged in committed and obliged relationships with their buyers perform better compared to the average. Drawing on Social Identity Theory, we assume that successful relationships result from interorganisational identification among supply chain members. Moreover, we hypothesise that interorganisational identification is predominantly influenced by interorganisational power strategies. Therefore, based on our research model, we examine the interdependence between power and identity and subsequently, effects of organisational identity on collaborative success.
Daniel Corsten, Gunther Kucza, Marion Peyinghaus

Chapter 8. Performance Measurement in Supply Chain Networks

The case of fast moving consumer goods
In the area of Management Control Systems research efforts focus primarily on the development of performance measurement systems for a single organization. However, collaboration practices create common areas of interest among organizations. To this end, integrated performance measures are required. In a collaborative context facilitated by an IT infrastructure, organizations have the opportunity to develop a common performance measurement system. This chapter briefly presents some widely discussed theoretical issues in the area of performance measurement as well as some practical considerations. Based on case study research in the area of Fast Moving Consumer Goods, I present a concise method to realize which performance measures are available on the top of the IT infrastructure. At the same time, the chapter addresses the challenges and problems of a single performance measure, showing that the measurement method is important although sometimes complex.
Dimitris Papakiriakopoulos

Chapter 9. Examining the Emerging Dynamics of an Information Infrastructure

The case of introducing a web-based collaboration platform in the construction industry
The focus of this chapter is on the implementation of collaboration technologies in the context of the construction industry. Our empirical setting involves the introduction of a web-based collaboration platform for progress monitoring, co-ordination of project activities, project record keeping, information sharing and exchange in a construction consortium, constituted of geographical dispersed business units and organizations. This research seeks to identify and understand impacts in management and work arrangements in the emerging network information infrastructure.
Nasos Nikas, Angeliki Poulymenakou

Chapter 10. Unraveling the Virtual University

The case of eMaster Postgraduate programme
This chapter critically explores the vision of a university “without walls” has dominated these last years the discussions in academia and industry alike. In examining the efforts of a distributed virtual university to foster collaboration among the various participating actors through the establishment of a common technological infrastructure, we found that technological coupling is not enough in itself. In particular, the analysis showed that there are a number of defining factors namely, (1) task characteristics, (2) communication interface, and (3) frames that must be aligned for any effort to create a distributed virtual university to be successful. To this end, we examine in depth each of these defining factors and discuss the assumptions that lead universities to rely on technology to foster collaboration. We conclude by discussing the implications of the vision for a “virtual” university for both academic research and practice.
Elpida Prasopoulou, Angeliki Poulymenakou, Nancy Pouloudi



Chapter 11. Organizing Principles for Inter-firm Networks

Throughout this volume, we have reflected on the challenges that managers face in their everyday practice at the inter-firm level. Moreover, we have also examined a concise number of issues that must be addressed by them. Concluding this volume, it is only appropriate to present a comprehensive set of recommendations for network managers. Literature on network management includes an important number of recommendations on various issues troubling managers in such complex situations. However, a systematic, step-by-step grouping of such recommendations is still largely missing from the literature. In this chapter, we provide a set of managerial guidelines arranged according to a life cycle model of inter-firm cooperation. These guidelines are the outcome of in-depth research on specific instances of inter-firm networks as presented in the body of this volume. Specific actions are presented at each stage of the life cycle while a set of managerial implications is presented at the end of the chapter.
Elpida Prasopoulou, Angeliki Poulymenakou
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