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The political embeddedness of business networks: evidence from firmsí responses to climate change


Tobias Finke, Stefanos Mouzas and Alan Gilchrist

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 33rd IMP-conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2017.


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Over the past two decades, network scholarship has repeatedly raised the issue of the limited attention given to socio-political considerations in the study of business-government relationships. It seems paradoxical that the theoretical understanding of political embeddedness of business networks remains limited, despite an increasingly globalized world, and the associated interconnectedness this brings between firms and governments. Firmsí responses to climate change constitute a case in which government actors are deeply embedded in wider business networks. Previous research on political embeddedness of business networks raises questions about how the formulation and implementation of government policy changes affect the business network itself. In an attempt to further our understanding of the issues these questions pose, it is vital to recognize and study the interconnectedness of these networks as it allows an unveiling of the fundamental barriers and enablers of organizational responses to climate change. The study is based upon an in-depth analysis of Chinese electricity industry networks. Findings suggest that governmental interventions at any point in the network may spread across the wider inter-business networks, policy-business networks as well as inter- and intra-governmental networks. Hereby, we posit that government intervention acts as both a barrier and enabler of organizational responses to climate change. The present study contributes to our understanding of the embeddedness of business networks in a wider political context.

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