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Paper info: Power Games in Networks: Allocation Mechanisms in a Neo-Mercantilist Networked Economy


Power Games in Networks: Allocation Mechanisms in a Neo-Mercantilist Networked Economy


Debbie Harrison
Norwegian School of Management
Debbie Harrison ,
Frans Prenkert
Orebro University
Frans Prenkert , Per Ingvar Olsen and
Thomas Hoholm
BI Norwegian Business School
Thomas Hoholm

Place of Publication

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


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This paper investigates essential aspects of business networks in highly concentrated supplier and retail markets. In particular it discusses the interface between industrial supply network organization and end-consumer markets where a certain type of organization exists: the retail supermarket-organization. We argue that certain kinds of power dynamics emerge when retailers interact with producers in supply networks, which is pertinent due to the implications for the actual development of networked economies. This paper analyses this interplay in order to understand more of the mechanisms and the structures of the power games that impact business network dynamics. We identify three power games; the access to market game, the latitude game, and the price dumping game. We furthermore analyse the mechanisms and the transaction patterns that are implicit in these power games. Jointly, these indicate a development towards a neo-mercantilist economy where access to and participation in market supply may in fact be ―taxed‖ by powerful actors in certain network positions. These outcomes point at aspects of networked economies in highly concentrated economies that represent particular challenges to both market practitioners and policy makers.
Key Words: Power, Network Organizing, Interaction, Dynamics, Concentration, Food and Agriculture