Scandinavian Working Papers in Business Administration

Occasional Papers,
Uppsala University, Department of Business Studies

No 2003/2: Network routines and change of network configuration

Angelika Lindstrand
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Angelika Lindstrand: Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University

Abstract: The business opportunities that arise for a firm induce it to consider how useful its existing capabilities and knowledge are when seeking opportunities. Firm knowledge and capabilities have been shown to be dependent on the firm’s business network. In this paper we discuss that firms, by learning how to do business and how to acquire needed knowledge through interaction with its network, develop routines that are specific for handling the network. Firms also learn which network configuration provides the most benefit. The routinization of this knowledge leads to specific network configurations, which is viewed as the firms existing capabilities to exploit business opportunities. The purpose of this paper is thus, to develop a conceptual framework for understanding how a firm’s business opportunities influence its perceived usefulness of network routines and how this perception will influence its learning, performance and network configuration. We seek to fill a research gap in our knowledge of network routines and their effects on firm performance and network configuration. We argue that business opportunities guide the firm’s perceived usefulness of its network routines, and that network routines, as realizations of the firm’s theory-in-use, guide the firm’s perception of useful knowledge in learning processes to come. What a firm perceives as its current successfully applied options, with respect to similar situations in the past, will thus affect what other knowledge the firm perceives as useful. Such theory-in-use is related to the firm’s network routines and network configuration. Changes in network routines and network configuration, instigated by double loop learning, is then discussed.

Keywords: Network knowledge; Network routines; Network configuration; Change; Double loop learning

22 pages, September 23, 2003

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