The literature has concentrated on several and often seemingly contradictory social antecedents of effectiveinnovation in business networks so far. This theoretical diversity stems from views such as the resource dependence theory,the agency theory, the collaborative networks literature, the knowledge network view, the institutional theories and theorganisational ecology theories. These six views have developed almost independently so far, with only partial reciprocalintegration. A reason is that the key success factors identified in each theory are potentially contradictory with thoseidentified in other theories. For example, the forces allowing coordination according to the collaborative networks theory(i.e. trust and reciprocation) inhibit, and are inhibited by, the forces allowing coordination according to the resourcedependence theory (i.e. power and control). The in-depth study of such paradoxes is in its infancy; this results in a veryrelevant gap between scholarly understanding and the complexity of real-world innovation networks.In order to contributeto address this gap, we present an explorative case study on a successful innovation-oriented business network in Italy. Wefound that all of the success factors mentioned by the six theories listed above seem to play a role in the case under analysis.Even more importantly, we found that a further success factor emerges, which has not been taken into consideration by thesix mainstream theories we considered. In fact, in the case under analysis the partnering organisations are linked by a specificinnovation-oriented business network contract. This contract is much lighter than traditional partnership agreements, suchas joint ventures; nevertheless, according to our findings, it plays a key role in the successfully innovative nature of thenetwork. What has made the difference is not just the contract content per se, with its norms and sanctions, but the processthrough which the contract has been discussed and agreed upon by the partnering organisations. This process is perceivedas the co-creation of a shared, ad-hoc micro-environment, which we label as an institutional niche. We conclude by arguingthat the effectiveness and further adaptability of the institutional niche built by the actors is a key factor to maintain thedynamic equilibrium between the contradictory forces identified by the six mainstream theories described above.

Actors Creating Institutional Niches for Agile Innovation Networks: An Exploratory Study

RICCIARDI, Francesca;CANTELE, SILVIA;VERNIZZI, Silvia;CAMPEDELLI, Bettina
2015

Abstract

The literature has concentrated on several and often seemingly contradictory social antecedents of effectiveinnovation in business networks so far. This theoretical diversity stems from views such as the resource dependence theory,the agency theory, the collaborative networks literature, the knowledge network view, the institutional theories and theorganisational ecology theories. These six views have developed almost independently so far, with only partial reciprocalintegration. A reason is that the key success factors identified in each theory are potentially contradictory with thoseidentified in other theories. For example, the forces allowing coordination according to the collaborative networks theory(i.e. trust and reciprocation) inhibit, and are inhibited by, the forces allowing coordination according to the resourcedependence theory (i.e. power and control). The in-depth study of such paradoxes is in its infancy; this results in a veryrelevant gap between scholarly understanding and the complexity of real-world innovation networks.In order to contributeto address this gap, we present an explorative case study on a successful innovation-oriented business network in Italy. Wefound that all of the success factors mentioned by the six theories listed above seem to play a role in the case under analysis.Even more importantly, we found that a further success factor emerges, which has not been taken into consideration by thesix mainstream theories we considered. In fact, in the case under analysis the partnering organisations are linked by a specificinnovation-oriented business network contract. This contract is much lighter than traditional partnership agreements, suchas joint ventures; nevertheless, according to our findings, it plays a key role in the successfully innovative nature of thenetwork. What has made the difference is not just the contract content per se, with its norms and sanctions, but the processthrough which the contract has been discussed and agreed upon by the partnering organisations. This process is perceivedas the co-creation of a shared, ad-hoc micro-environment, which we label as an institutional niche. We conclude by arguingthat the effectiveness and further adaptability of the institutional niche built by the actors is a key factor to maintain thedynamic equilibrium between the contradictory forces identified by the six mainstream theories described above.
978-1-910810-47-7
knowledge sharing, inter-organisational relationships, innovation networks, organisational agility, institutionalniche, contratti di rete
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/927037
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