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Paper info: Interactivity in Business Networks


Interactivity in Business Networks


Håkan Håkansson
Norwegian School of Management
Håkan Håkansson and
Ivan Snehota
University of Lugano
Ivan Snehota

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 34th IMP-conference in Marseille, France in 2018.



Empirical studies of inter-organizational business relationships evidenced considerable variation in content of such relationships. Capturing the variation is not simple as interaction processes in business relationships have various facets. At present, we lack a systematic explanation for this variation in pattern and intensity of interactions in relationships over time ad across relationships, companies. In this paper we are set to examine the reasons for the striking observed variation in interaction in business relationships and formulate the concept of interactivity as an overarching construct ‘underlying’ the observed interaction patterns. Starting from revisiting interaction processes in business relationships, we explore the social, material and economic faces of interaction and introduce the concept of interactivity as ‘properties of the context conducive of interaction’ in business relationships. Revisiting in prior research on factors of interaction we conceptualize interactivity as linkage of context to actual interaction processes that has three main factors: idea structure (‘air’); activity structure (’ground’) and managers’ use of interaction. We conclude with a discussion of the role of interactivity in analysis of contemporary economic and business landscape.