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Paper info: A strategic network and its interplay with the institutional environment: A case study in the pharmaceutical industry


A strategic network and its interplay with the institutional environment: A case study in the pharmaceutical industry


Paavo Järvensivu, Pirjo Lukkari and Timo Järvensivu

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 24th IMP-conference in Uppsala, Sweden in 2008.


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Different institutional bases are imported into business organizations as underlying assumptions and codes of conduct, which frame their marketing practices, have an impact on their performance, and shape markets in which they operate. There is growing, extensive literature theorizing the various characteristics and dynamics of institutional environment and institutional entrepreneurship. The interplay between institutions and business networks as well as how strategizing in networks emerges and is environmentally bounded have been studied to some extent. However, the impact of institutional environment on strategic networks and strategizing in them as well as the institutional entrepreneurship activities by members of these networks seem to have received surprisingly little attention by marketing scholars. Our study focuses on the interplay between institutional environment and a strategic network. We specifically study (1) how the institutional environment influences strategizing in a strategic network and (2) how the network engages in institutional entrepreneurship activities towards changing its institutional environment.In a case study of thetrade association Pharma Industry Finland (PIF) and its institutional environment, we found that the changes in the institutional environment influenced the strategizing of PIF by changing the strategic cohesiveness of the network and the mutuality of goals and interests among the network members. These changes had an influence on the relationship and interaction patterns of the network. Further, we found that the changes in the environment and strategizing had an impact on the institutional entrepreneurship activities of the network members. Through this empirical investigation we contribute to discussions on and theoretical understanding about business networks in relation to institutional environments, institutionally bounded strategizing in networks, as well as institutional entrepreneurship in business networks.