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 8: Strategies for Policy Makers in Business Relations and Networks: Evolving Evolvable Relations and Networks

Ian Wilkinson


INTRODUCTION The management implications of business research tend to receive centrestage attention because most of it is done in business schools that train managers. Equally important are the implications for policy makers, those in government and industry regulatory organisations. They need to be informed by the realities of business life, not dead economists with idealistic notions of the way business life could and should work. In this chapter I consider the policy implications arising from a relationship and network perspective, what it means for the development of legal rules and regulations governing business. Policy makers are not outside the systems they regulate, monitor and control; they are part of the business system, they are the political actors in business networks, influencing it and being influenced by it, not part of the environment. They represent the interests of the third party involved in any and every business interaction – society. They influence business through the actions they take and through the rules and regulations they set and enforce, and they are influenced by business through lobbying, legal processes and through the direct interactions taking place between them in the marketplace. Political actors can be very active and visible players in business networks. This is most obvious when they are key organisational customers, as in the case of defence equipment and public infrastructure development; when firms are monitored and controlled by various types of regulatory bodies such as investment boards, competition and industry watchdogs, trade promotion agencies and the...

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