Chapter 7: Strategies for Firms in Business Relations and Networks: The Extended Enterprise and Soft-Assembled Strategies
7. Strategies for ﬁrms in business relations and networks: the extended enterprise and soft-assembled strategies1 INTRODUCTION The foregoing chapters have examined the kinds of relations and networks that ﬁrms are involved in, the kinds of issues confronting ﬁrms in developing and managing in these relations and networks, why relations and networks exist, the functions they perform, the forms they can take and the way they develop and evolve. In this chapter we return to the issue of management in relations and networks, and examine how ﬁrms can and should go about developing and managing their interactions with others in diﬀerent types of environments in order to achieve desirable outcomes. In Chapter 8 we consider the implications of relations and networks for policy makers: how they can and should go about monitoring, regulating, policing, controlling, directing and fostering business relations and networks so that they contribute to the performance and sustainability of a nation’s business system and its development and evolution. Existing theories of management focus on the individual ﬁrm as the primary unit of analysis. Managers sense and analyse their environment, and formulate and implement plans of action and response through which they survive and prosper or not. The determinants of a ﬁrm’s ability to survive and prosper are explained in terms of their resources, competences and orientations relative to competitors that allow them to identify, occupy and defend viable niches in markets. This focus tends to assume that the ﬁrm is in control of its destiny and the...
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