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 7: Strategies for Firms in Business Relations and Networks: The Extended Enterprise and Soft-Assembled Strategies

Ian Wilkinson


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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