Edited by Jorma Larimo, Niina Nummela and Tuija Mainela
Chapter 9: The potential of network pictures for international alliance and network research
International alliance and network research has largely focused on finding one-dimensional correlation between alliance/network characteristics and internationalization variables. This has resulted in a dearth of holistic studies to increase our understanding on co-evolving network processes and structures. In this chapter, we discuss the limitations of the research domain, and assess how network pictures could advance international business (IB) network research. The notion of network pictures builds on and encapsulates wide areas of literature with regard to sensemaking, cognition, and mental maps, with an aim to further understanding on the dynamics between individual network actors, their intentions and actions, and the structural and processual elements of their surrounding business networks. In particular, we focus on how network pictures could advance IB network research in terms of managerial sensemaking, multi-level research and temporal dimension. This consideration provides a basis from which to outline a systematic, general research framework for international alliance and network studies, linking together the (cultural, national, organizational, and network) context, network pictures and networking activities underpinning the international network development. We describe the possibilities for utilizing the broad network picture framework in various IB-related studies, that is, we discuss the potential use of network pictures in further international alliance and network research.
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