Business Relating Business
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Business Relating Business

Managing Organisational Relations and Networks

Ian Wilkinson

Business Relating Business argues that business performance depends on the way a firm is connected to other firms and organisations and not just its own skill and resources. The book synthesises thinking from marketing, management, economics and international business with evolutionary biology and complexity theory, as well as integrating many years’ research on interfirm relations and networks. It develops the management and policy implications of adopting relationship and network perspectives and sets out an agenda for future research.
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Chapter 4: Business Mating: Establishing and Developing Business Relations and Networks

Ian Wilkinson


INTRODUCTION BOX 4.1 MATCHES MADE IN HEAVEN It can, apparently, take just three minutes to fall in love with another person. Cavendish Corporate Finance, a British merger-and-acquisitions boutique, hopes that something similar is true in the business world. On October 15th it is holding an ‘event’ (‘conference’ would conjure up unsexy images of droning speakers) at the annual meeting in Amsterdam of M&A International, a network of M&A firms, closely modelled on speed dating. The event will enable potential buyers and sellers of companies to get together. Rather than indicating hair colour, educational background or height, suitors tick boxes indicating geographical or industrial desires. Meetings will last only 20 minutes: as with speed dating, the object is merely to see whether there is any chemistry. A bell will be rung when the time is up. ‘What people enjoy at conferences are the coffee breaks; this is a lot of coffee breaks,’ says Howard Leigh, Cavendish’s managing director. Source: Economist, 7 October 2004. This chapter is about how firms get together to form different types of business relations, including longer-term ‘marriages’ or partnerships, as well as more temporary ‘affairs’ and looser ‘friendships’. The term ‘business mating’ is chosen to refer to the processes involved because the problems and issues involved in developing relations in business are similar in many ways to the way animals and people mate, a subject that has been much studied in biology and social science, starting with Charles Darwin. 88 Establishing and...

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