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Dressed for success: designing and managing regional strategic networks
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Inter-organizational network initiatives such as regional strategic networks (RSNs) are often used by firms and public agencies to support regional development and competitiveness. RSNs are designed networks managed by a hub and financed by public or private means. RSN management is complex as members are autonomous and initially often loosely connected. The effects of RSNs on regional development are disputed as engineered relationship development may interfere with ongoing business relationships.  Despite this, vast public funds are being invested in collaborative initiatives. Identifying factors affecting RSN performance will provide a better basis for evaluating and managing such initiatives.

Based on concepts such as actors, resources, and activities findings are reported from longitudinal case-studies built on interviews with 68 members and hubs in four RSNs. Data were also collected through participant observation, conversations, archival data and emails. Findings indicate that factors such as evaluation criteria, member composition, relationships, location, goals, the hub, physical and human resources, knowledge sharing and development, resources, policies and norms, social activities, and communication exert an impact on entrepreneurship and cooperation.

The first paper focuses on factors such as actor composition, actor goals, number of actors, and activities facilitating relationship development and commitment. The second paper identifies a framework of seven tasks to be performed by the hub. The effects on development of preferences and atmosphere are dealt with in the third paper. Effects of cooperation between public/private sector and universities are addressed in the fourth paper, and entrepreneurial processes in network contexts are analyzed in the fifth one.

The important management role of the hub is emphasized as is carefully considered member composition. Relationships and commitment are found to be crucial. These factors are not covered by national and regional performance criteria. They merit a place of their own.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2011. , 108 p.
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 105
Keyword [en]
RSNs, regional development, actors, resources, activities, performance, commitment, hub-tasks, communication strategy, cooperation, entrepreneurship
Keyword [sv]
Regionala strategiska nätverk, regional utveckling, aktörer, resurser, aktiviteter, resultat, engagemang, navets uppgifter, kommunikationsstrategi, samarbete, entreprenörskap
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-13343ISBN: 978-91-86694-29-6 (print)OAI: diva2:401692
Public defence
2011-03-25, M102, Sundsvall, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2011-03-03 Created: 2011-03-03 Last updated: 2012-07-31Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Designing for commitment in regional strategic networks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Designing for commitment in regional strategic networks
2012 (English)In: Management Research Review, ISSN 2040-8269, Vol. 35, no 6, 531-552 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to model the impact of structural factors and activities on commitment in a regional strategic network(RSN) context. Design/methodology/approach: A longitudinal case study examines two regional strategic networks acting in different business areas in mid Sweden. Findings: Competition-neutral, social, and personal goals were found to be powerful drivers promoting shared values andcommitment among competitors, whereas business-related goals worked well for complementary firms, providing a more stable basis for networkcommitment. In the RSN with a large number of members, sensitivity to absence was low, but it took longer for members to get to know one another, slowing commitment development. The RSN including members with complementary resources proved a more favorable setting than did the RSN including competitors, and frequent activities that favored social relationship development increased commitment. Research limitations/implications: This study identifies important factors influencing the development of commitment in network contexts, but is limited to two cases. The topic merits further research: other factors need consideration, and the factors discussed here should be evaluated in other contexts. Practical implications: The impact on network commitment of the factors discussed here needs to be considered by RSN initiators and hubs. Originality/value: Few studies treat commitment in RSN contexts. This paper addresses this deficit by identifying structural factors and activities that influence commitmentdevelopment. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Business development; Goals; Member numbers and longevity; Network commitment; Regional strategic network; Resource composition; Social networks; Sweden
National Category
Business Administration
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-12674 (URN)10.1108/01409171211238280 (DOI)2-s2.0-84860844529 (ScopusID)
Strategiska nätverk
Available from: 2010-12-14 Created: 2010-12-14 Last updated: 2012-10-23Bibliographically approved

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