Frontpage  About
Paper info: The Face Of Embeddedness - A Case Study


The Face Of Embeddedness - A Case Study


Eva A. Sandberg

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 19th IMP-conference in Lugano, Switzerland in 2003.


Download paper
(199.6 kb)


The aim of this paper is to give concrete empirical accounts of the concept of embeddedness. The final paper will give a theoretical review of different types of embeddeness, resulting in an analytical framework that will be used as a guideline for the analysis of the constructing process of a strategic network. In focus for the study is the ?hub firm? that connects 31small and mediumsized industrial subcontractors in an EU-supported region in Sweden. It promotes inter-organizational co-operation concerning marketing activities, education and joint manufacturing efforts. The economic actions and their outcomes described in this paper are heavily affected by the embeddeness of the actors? relations. It is obvious that the context of economic exchange is constituted by patterns of ongoing interpersonal relations and that the economic actions here referred to, cannot be fully understood without taking this into consideration. The decision to co-operate is strongly governed by the strength of personal concrete relations. That makes Granovetter's arguments highly relevant here, and ?the idea of embeddedness? is useful to describe and explain why and how networks are manifested. What he refers to as structural embeddedness, is central to the conditions as well as the actions and outcomes in the chronology. The structure of the social relations manifests it self in all levels, from an informal network and a formal strategic network, to international policies and the overall structure of norms and common beliefs that we call institutions. The paper reveals explicit empirical substantiations for Granovetter's structural embeddedness, and furthermore two aspects of embeddedness that are crucial for the genesis and evolution of the strategic network. Firstly, a mimetic aspect manifesting itself through imitation of pre-fabricated organization devices in the construction process. Secondly, a spatial aspect demonstrated by the importance of common space and encounters for the decisions to co-operate.