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The role of business networks for innovation

PublicationArticle (with peer review)
Christina Öberg, Företagandets villkor, Innovation, Nätverk

Abstract

A business network consists of directly and indirectly connected companies, where social and economic ties help to understand these connection. Innovations could be seen to relate to business networks in two ways: they may result from interaction between business partners, or they would need to fit into, or through changes to interaction patterns among various business partners, be fitted into new or current business networks. In the literature on innovation, the incremental, radical, or disruptive characteristics of the innovations are frequently described as degrees of newness. This paper categorizes characteristics of business networks based on their role to create various types of innovations, and based on the various types’ consequences for the business network. The empirical part of this paper is based on six case-study examples from interviews performed by the author. The findings suggest links between the type of innovation, and the role of the network and network consequences. The paper contributes to previous research through discussing the role of business networks for various types of innovation. Furthermore, the paper contributes to previous research through indicating the various types of innovations’ consequences for the business network. Most previous research on business networks and innovation only concerns itself with how various parties participate in idea generation and co-development of innovations, while the consequences for the business network is not described extensively.

Öberg, C. (2019). The role of business networks for innovation. Journal of Innovation & Knowledge, 4(2), 124-128. 10.1016/j.jik.2017.10.001

Based on content

Open marketing – Conceptualizing external parties’ strategic marketing activities
Article (with peer review)Publication
Öberg, C.
Publication year

2020

Abstract

Open marketing as conceptualized in this paper refers to how external parties take part in strategic, integrative marketing activities. To distinguish this more recent trend in marketing from traditional meanings of marketing, the paper provides a typology on roles and role keepers in marketing. Four types of roles and role keepers are outlined: marketing as 1) solely being performed by actors in the supplier company communicating offerings, 2) an activity shared among functions of the supplier company, 3) external parties communicating offerings, and 4) external parties contributing to strategic marketing. Using the concept of ‘roles’ in marketing helps to structure activities and actors – or roles and role keepers – and provides a basis for understanding that marketing results from what is done, not merely from who performs it. The paper underlines how new ways of conducting business also have implications for a company’s marketing beyond its borders.

Disruptive and paradoxical roles in the sharing economies
Article (with peer review)Publication
Öberg, C.
Publication year

2021

Abstract

The sharing economy could be said to disrupt who does what in exchanges. This paper categorises the roles played by users, providers, and platforms in different interpretations of the sharing economy. It asks: What different roles do the users, providers, and platforms play in the sharing economy? And: How do the roles differ in various interpretations of the sharing economy? The paper classifies the different interpretations based on their market/non-market logic and concludes that roles are more extensive for users and providers in non-market logic interpretations, while market logic suggests that the platform acts more roles. The user is, despite the peer-to-peer connotation of the sharing economy, often quite passive. Contributions are made to the emerging literature on the sharing economy through highlighting its many different interpretations, where roles help to systematise these. The paper furthermore contributes to the literature on roles through highlighting them as transitory and expanding beyond expectations related to digitalisation. Practically, the systematisation of roles helps to navigate among various business model designs and makes informed decisions when launching platforms in the sharing economy. Additionally, the focus on roles raises important questions on risk sharing, resource provisions, and the creation of value for each participating party.

Women on board: The disregarded issue of board interlocks
Article (with peer review)Publication
Öberg, C.
Publication year

2021

Abstract

Purpose
Gender diversity is extensively debated and researched in relation to corporate boards. The focus on the gender composition on single boards neglects an important issue: that of how the power of board members is impacted by their representation on other boards. Board interlocks refer to how a board member is also represented on other companies’ boards, and such representation expectedly makes the individual board member more influential in the boardroom than non-connected board members. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether and how female board interlocks are considered in previous research on gender diversity on boards.
Design/methodology/approach
A systematic literature review was conducted. It comprised 71 highly cited articles. The articles were analyzed to grasp their content, and specifically, female influence in the boardroom related to power.
Findings
The literature review reveals that the interlock perspective is rare in studies on women’s board representation. This is so, even while evidence is provided that females often need companions to get their meanings across on the boards, despite how interlocks would create one link of such power, and although the literature points to how female board representation plays a part to explain performance, social responsibilities and overall strategic directions of firms.
Originality/value
Contributions are made to previous research by indicating the potential of further research in a largely neglected area of research while also summarizing the previous reporting on women on boards.

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