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A conceptual framework of re-configuring a business network


Virpi Havila
Uppsala University
Virpi Havila ,
Chris Medlin
University of Adelaide
Chris Medlin and León Poblete

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 34th IMP-conference in Sri Lanka in 2018.


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We contribute with an empirical case study that explores the distinctions between network re-configuration and the required concurrent or sequenced reshaping of business relations. The re-configuring of industrial networks can be undertaken by changing a number of business relationships, but to-date this approach has hardly been studied. The literature mainly considers network changes occurring incrementally within business relationships, and while this is substantially the case, still some are deactivated, others change in their nature and others are developed from seemingly nowhere but with the need to acquire new market or resource access. Hidden between the incremental and disruption perspectives is a deeper understanding of two capabilities: (i) network re-configuration and (ii) business relationship reshaping. The two capabilities are conceptually distinct, yet each in an interactive approach involves the other. We introduce four types of business relationship reshaping: (i) activating (ii) reactivating, (iii) deactivating, and (iv) reviving. A single-case study is presented to understand these phenomena and network re-configuration