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Paper info: Networking Capability, Networking Rent, and Firm Performance: A Nomological Model Including Moderation Effects


Networking Capability, Networking Rent, and Firm Performance: A Nomological Model Including Moderation Effects


Carla Ramos
University of Porto
Carla Ramos ,
Maciej Mitrega
University of Economics in Katowice
Maciej Mitrega and Stephan Henneberg

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 27th IMP-conference in Glasgow, Scotland in 2011.



The dynamics of business networks are seen as an important field of research in
inter-organisational marketing and strategy (Ahuja et al. 2007; Halinen et al. 1999). To
deal with such dynamics, firms embedded in networks need to develop capabilities that
allow them to understand other actors and relationships, and to actively shape their
networking position (Ford et al. 2003). Prior studies have operationalised such network
competences/capabilities (Ritter et al. 2002; Walter et al. 2006), however, these studies
have not captured the changeable nature of business networks. In order to address this
issue, this study brings together and synthesises earlier studies on dynamic capabilities,
relationship portfolio management and industrial network approach (INA) and
conceptualizes networking capabilities. We propose the networking capability as the
element complementing the model of ‘managing in networks’ proposed by Ford et al.
(2003). We argue that this element contributes to our understanding of focal company’s
existence within network, because it refers to the way how managers may coordinate
their various network pictures in the organizations and achieve some kind of consistency
in decisions and actions undertaken by their companies in the network.
We adopt a relationship process-based perspective by considering three stages:
relationship initiation, development, and termination. For each of these relationship
stages specific networking capabilities are defined. Based on these three sets of
networking capabilities as the independent constructs, we develop an empirically testable
nomological model with performance-related dependent constructs, namely networkingrelated
outcomes, and ultimately firm performance. We therefore contribute with this
study to the conceptualization of firstly, strategic competences in business networks
specifically as networking capabilities, secondly, by introducing a dynamic perspective
through the use of relationship processes, and thirdly, by relating networking rent as well
as overall firm performance to the new concept of networking capability. We also
hypothesise the impact of important moderation effects, e.g. the influence of relationship
investments on the structural links embedded in the model.
Networking, Dynamic Capability, Network Competence, Company Performance