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Network Governance - Abstract


Christophe Van den Bulte (, University of Pennsylvania
Stefan Wyuts (, Tilburg University, The Netherlands


The embeddedness of firms in interorganizational networks is a pervasive phenomenon that has attracted the attention of marketing and management scholars alike. Most of the research attention, however, has been devoted to resource benefits, as ties to other firms can provide a firm access to external resources (such as external R&D). Little attention has been devoted to the governance implications of business networks. Yet, already in 1994 Jan Heide suggested that networks may have governance implications. Despite a few empirical studies that reported findings in line with this assertion, the governance literature in marketing and beyond is still very strongly dominated by a dyadic perspective, focusing on formal and relational contracts in one-to-one relationships but disregarding the network context. This dyadic bias in the governance literature is at odds with developments in sociology on network exchange. As a result, apart from some scant research findings, we still know very little about the governance implications of business networks. This chapter will provide (1) an overview of diverse network governance mechanisms identified in earlier literature (such as reputation, two-step leverage, group norms…) and (2) an in-depth discussion of the conditions in which these alternative network governance mechanisms are likely activated and effective in curbing opportunism and promoting prosocial behaviors. The conceptual chapter intends to serve as a starting point for a more systematic analysis of network governance. In addition, it may serve as a useful source of information and inspiration making marketing practitioners more sensitive and responsive to the increased connectivity of business markets.

The Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing

This chapter is part of the ISBM Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing, edited by Professors Gary Lilien and Raj Grewal. The Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing is available from Edward Elgar Publishing and other online book retailers.

As the authors retain the copyright to their chapters, only they have the right to use or distribute their chapter. If you would like a copy of this chapter, please contact the author or authors directly through their emails included above.

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