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Researching boundaries in business networks


Simone Guercini
Università degli Studi di Firenze
Simone Guercini and
Chris Medlin
University of Adelaide
Chris Medlin

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 35th IMP-conference in Paris, France in 2019.



Our contribution is to present a radical constructivist perspective for researching boundaries in business networks by using metaphors in research meetings with informants. Boundaries are an important subject in the field of business, be they of an enterprise, organization, industry or any other contexts. Business networks provide a view of the interactive world as flow, without boundaries. But the flows are directed and follow purpose, and so boundaries shape business networks. However, we have hardly begun to research how boundaries shape business networks, both in geographic space and in future temporalities. A major issue is not only research methods and tools, but also that our informants do not necessarily have an understanding of business networks. We suggest that adopting a radical constructivist approach, which aligns well with metaphors, resolves our research issues.