Multidimensionality of Actors in Business Networks: The Influence of Social Action in Pharmacy Networks in Finland

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http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-232-052-0
Title: Multidimensionality of Actors in Business Networks: The Influence of Social Action in Pharmacy Networks in Finland
Author: Steinby, Camilla
Other contributor: Svenska handelshögskolan, institutionen för marknadsföring, marknadsföring
Hanken School of Economics, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Publisher: Svenska handelshögskolan
Date: 2009-08-11
Language: en
Belongs to series: Economics and Society - 204
ISBN: 978-952-232-052-0
ISSN: 0424-7256
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10227/385
http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-232-052-0
Thesis level: Doctoral thesis
Abstract: In the markets-as-networks approach business networks are conceived as dynamic actor structures, giving focus to exchange relationships and actors’ capabilities to control and co-ordinate activities and resources. Researchers have shared an understanding that actors’ actions are crucial for the development of business networks and for network dynamics. However, researchers have mainly studied firms as business actors and excluded individuals, although both firms and individuals can be seen as business actors. This focus on firms as business actors has resulted in a paucity of research on human action and the exchange of intangible resources in business networks, e.g. social exchange between individuals in social networks. Consequently, the current conception of business networks fails to appreciate the richness of business actors, the human character of business action and the import of social action in business networks. The central assumption in this study is that business actors are multidimensional and that their specific constitution in any given situation is determined by human interaction in social networks. Multidimensionality is presented as a concept for exploring how business actors act in different situations and how actors simultaneously manage multiple identities: individual, organisational, professional, business and network identities. The study presents a model that describes the multidimensionality of actors in business networks and conceptualises the connection between social exchange and human action in business networks. Empirically the study explores the change that has taken place in pharmaceutical retailing in Finland during recent years. The phenomenon of emerging pharmacy networks is highly contemporary in the Nordic countries, where the traditional license-based pharmacy business is changing. The study analyses the development of two Finnish pharmacy chains, one integrated and one voluntary chain, and the network structures and dynamics in them. Social Network Analysis is applied to explore the social structures within the pharmacy networks. The study shows that emerging pharmacy networks are multifaceted phenomena where political, economic, social, cultural, and historical elements together contribute to the observed changes. Individuals have always been strongly present in the pharmacy business and the development of pharmacy networks provides an interesting example of human actors’ influence in the development of business networks. The dynamics or forces driving the network development can be linked to actors’ own economic and social motives for developing the business. The study highlights the central role of individuals and social networks in the development of the two studied pharmacy networks. The relation between individuals and social networks is reciprocal. The social context of every individual enables multidimensional business actors. The mix of various identities, both individual and collective identities, is an important part of network dynamics. Social networks in pharmacy networks create a platform for exchange and social action, and social networks enable and support business network development.
Subject: emerging business networks,
social networks
social action
business actors
pharmacy networks
actorship
network identification
actor’s multidimensionality
identity
Rights: Publikationen är skyddad av upphovsrätten. Den får läsas och skrivas ut för personligt bruk. Användning i kommersiellt syfte är förbjuden.


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