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Contents of IMP Journal issue 3, volume 3

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Local networks in global networks: is it possible?


Andrea Furlan, Roberto Grandinetti and Diego Campagnolo


This paper is aimed at understanding if and how the local business relationships of a firm operating in a local cluster support its relationships with international customers.
We address this research question applying a twofold methodology using both a quantitative approach - one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the case study research method on a sample of firms operating in the Italian mechanical local cluster (MLC).
We discover that partnerships with local suppliers enhance the internationalization of local cluster firms. Partnerships with local suppliers are associated with anticipated constructive effects that strengthen the flexibility of the firm and its ability to cope with an ever increasing complexity of the environment thus supporting its internationalization.

Keywords: Internationalization, SMEs, clusters, business networks

The Italian Company Beyond the District: Supply Network Strategies


Roberta Bocconcelli and Annalisa Tunisini


This paper analyzes the changes affecting the supply network strategies of a mid-sized Italian company in the mechanical industry that had developed by leveraging on strong supply-network relationships with co-localized actors within its industrial district context.
The work focuses on the interplay between the company’s development and the most significant changes in the structure and in the substance of its supply network relationships. We thus analyze its development from a local small/medium sized company to a medium/large international one with the aim of investigating the following:
- the constraints and opportunities generated by the local supply network in relation to the company’s international development and vice versa;
- the designing of a local/global supply network;
- the reciprocal influences between local and international supply base.

Key words: Supply Networks, supplier relationships, districts

New Product Development When You Have To: Frames and Temporary Collaboration in Industrial Nets


Debbie Harrison and John Finch


In this paper we draw upon research in industrial marketing regarding materiality and cognition as actors engage in product development interactively. Our case features three companies that develop a net in the context of a mature industry, industrial refrigeration. Rather than focussing on a (expansive) network and its horizons, the actors combine their activities around the critical question of interpreting changing environmental policy, so we turn to the actors’ frames and their framing activities. The cognitive and material dimensions of frames blur as actors instigate entrepreneurial business plans, which require the movement of materials and personnel to a warehouse in order to develop and install a refrigeration system. We show how processes of localizing, which focus on actors’ interactive development of resources, carry with them actors’ particular anticipations of globalizing. The localized warehouse is in part a demonstration project for all three actors. The actors’ localizing paths to the project are interactive and clear, contingent upon their framing activities. The actors also continually represent their plans as they develop and globalize their project. But the globalizing paths are speculative, diffused and uncertain, radically so for one of the three actors.

Key words: Framing, product development, interaction, environmental policy, network dynamics.

The Becoming of Cermaq: The interplay between network influences and firm level control ambitions


Lars Huemer, Håkan Håkansson and Frans Prenkert


In this paper, we study the birth and development of an international company, Cermaq. International business, by definition, deals with space, and some business activities are performed across national boundaries. For instance, it can be a company situated in one country but buying from suppliers situated in other countries, selling to customers in other countries or making investments in production or R&D in other countries. Here, we focus on the interrelatedness between the focal firm’s HQ’s ambition to be in control of its own development, and the influence that it experiences from its evolving network. The interplay and possible tension between firm-level control and network influence is used further to understand the construction of identities in networks. We suggest that identities develop as a result of internal features and successful control; the internal features of others and their successful influence; and new demands created by either new positions in old networks or entering into entirely ‘new’ networks. Both space and time emerge as central in the development of firms and networks, where the overall business logic only can be understood in hindsight.

Keywords: Identities in networks, network paradoxes, space, aquaculture