Paper info: Re-facing the Market. Discussing the role of activities for actor identities in dynamic business networks. A multiple case study of digital media evolution and network dynamics in consumer markets
Re-facing the Market. Discussing the role of activities for actor identities in dynamic business networks. A multiple case study of digital media evolution and network dynamics in consumer markets
Geir Gunnlaugsson, JimmieG Röndell and Therese Hansen
Place of Publication
The paper was published at the 24th IMP-conference in Uppsala, Sweden in 2008.
This paper highlights the question of actor identities in business network theory when applied on consumer product markets, which has traditionally tended to polarize industrial - consumer activities and actor identities leaving the consumer activities outside the primary network analysis . Is it perhaps time to rethink the boundaries that are traditionally drawn up between industrial and consumer actors as subjects occupying separate roles, performing interactive but at the same time polarized activities? Previous works of business network theory conducted by the IMP group suggested that the actor identity should be studied as a result of processes in the network, which means that "changes in the network lead to changes in the identities of actors and can even cause new actors to emerge". However, since consumer activities have hitherto been perceived as far too temporary, fragmented and unorganized they have subsequently not been regarded as part of the process. They have consequently not being perceived as a network actor and/or included in the network horizon.Due to the increasing access to, and utilization of, affordable digital hardware/software and escalatingadaptation to internet-based activities there would however seem to be a shift in role performances. Itwould appear that a number of activities are being transferred from the traditional activity sphereswithin business/industries, and taken over by other actor groups. Research conducted within the realm of Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) also indicates that these activities are far but unorganized or merely transaction based. Has the influence of consumer activities in exchange networks with the increasing utilization of digital media and IT altered the identity of the consumer? Does this force us as researchers to consider including these activities when defining the network horizon?