Purpose - Many research studies in operations management (OM) and strategic management (SM) investigate how different kinds of firm decisions regarding business relationships can positively affect firm’s operations performance, resources endowment, and competitive position. Very few studies exist, however, trying to illuminate the actual behavior of managers when making strategic decisions about their company relationships with other companies, as opposed to normative theory. The purpose of this paper is to explore linkages between the “set” of strategic objectives that managers are willing to pursue, the “set” of networking decisions they make, and the “set” of business agreements they sign.Design/methodology/approach – In order to investigate and explore actual manager behaviours about networking strategy, we adopt multiple-case study-based field research. We collect data on 13 business agreements from 3 manufacturing firms in the mechatronic industry in Italy. Within-case and cross-case analyses are mainly used for theory building purposes.Findings – Empirical data allow us to identify four different archetypes of networking strategy. The archetypes capture different connections between “set” of strategic objectives that managers are willing to pursue, “set” of networking decisions that they consider, and “set” of strategic agreements that they actually adopt. Specifically, the identified archetypes are named Multi-alignment, Multi-agreement (Diversification), Multi-objective, and Mono-alignment (Focus) and are related to different association multiplicities among objectives, decisions, and agreements. The implications related to these archetypes are three-fold. First, the Multi-alignment archetype suggests to focus not just on one kind of agreement but on the firm overall portfolio of agreements to understand how different kinds of agreements and networking decisions can play a complementary role in achieving firm’s pre-fixed business objective/s. Second, the Multi-agreement archetype suggests that managers can minimize the risk of loosing the potentiality of networking collaboration by undertaking different kinds of agreements for the same strategic objective. Third, the Mono-alignment (Focus) and Multi-objective archetypes suggest that also just one agreement can potentially pursues one or multiple strategic objectives and thus can allow managers to minimize the cost of managing several networking relationships. Originality/value – The originality of this study consists in exploring linkages between objectives, decisions and networking agreements without specifically focusing on: 1) either vertical or horizontal relationships as, contrarily and respectively, most of the OM and SM papers on business relationships usually do, 2) either operations performance (positioning school) or resource endowment (resource based view school) strategic objectives as, contrarily, most of the OM and SM papers on strategic alignment usually do; 3) any specific kind of agreement contract (outsourcing, alliance, joint venture, etc.) as usually most of the OM and SM papers usually do. This paper comes up with four different networking strategy archetypes that represent different way of matching “set” of networking decisions, strategic objectives and business agreements. They are not related to either vertical or horizontal relationships, either operations performance or resource endowment objectives, and to any contract agreement specific form.
|Numero di pagine||33|
|Rivista||Management Research Review|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2013|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes