Chain & Network Science - Chain and network science: A...

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1. Perspectives on chain and network science The fast development of technology, combined with increased global competition and more stringent customer demands put strong pressures on companies to improve the quality of their products and processes. Competition involves not only on price, but also a wide variety of product and service attributes. The pressure to do more with less inexorably forces companies to focus on few, unique, hard to imitate and distinctive core competencies, while establishing co-operations in fields in which they do not posses distinctive competencies. For instance, over 50% of Du Pont’s new agricultural product leads stem from university laboratories (MacLachlan, 1995). As Gambardella (1992) concludes: ‘To be part of a network, and to be able to effectively exploit the information that circulates in the network, has become even more valuable than being able to generate new knowledge autonomously.’ The capability of building and maintaining inter-organisational network relationships is increasingly viewed as key to sustained competitive advantage. Figure 1 clearly shows that related industrial networks are increasingly converging. The boundaries of the computer industry overlap with telecommunications, office equipment, entertainment and consumer electronics. Increasing interdependence of previously separate industries produces new competitors, but also new possibilities for alliances and acquisitions. Managers may find that control Chain and network science (2001) 1 Chain and network science: A research framework S.W.F. (Onno) Omta, Jacques H. Trienekens and George Beers Wageningen University and Research Centre Abstract In this first article of the Journal on Chain and Network Science the base-line is set for a discussion on contents and scope of chain and network theory. Chain and network research is clustered into four main ‘streams’: Network theory, social capital theory, supply chain management and business economics and organizational theory. Furthermore a research agenda is formulated. The article ends with management implications of the different contributions to this first issue. Figure 1: Integration of related industrial networks (Ford and Saren 2001).
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should be shared. As Ford and Saren (2001) cite: ‘Today the watchword is not divide and conquer but co-operate-to-compete’ . In this emerging competitive environment, the ultimate success of the single business will depend on the management’s ability to integrate the company’s intricate network of business relationships with outside companies. Several authors refer to such networks as virtual corporations, in which a number of firms create flexible linkages to attain common or complementary objectives ( e.g., Davidow and Malone 1992, Campbell 1996, Upton and McAfee 1996, Yoshino and Srinivasa Rangan 1995). The Journal of Chain and Network Science
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Chain & Network Science - Chain and network science: A...

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