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Title: Interaction effects on product development networks in China
Author: Bassayannis, Christos
Awarding Body: University of Greenwich
Current Institution: University of Greenwich
Date of Award: 2013
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The purpose of this research is to contribute to the understanding of product development processes within dispersed business-to-business networks that involve business actors in China. This research investigates how these processes initiate and evolve in a dynamic environment. More specifically, it examines the impact of culture in terms of interpersonal interactive relationships on the formation and development of product development processes. It investigates what is in the shadow of direct resource interface development and explains that an analysis of relationship processes in China can be inspirational for theoretical developments. The Actors-Resources-Activities (ARA) model of interaction (Hakansson & Snehota 1995) of the business network paradigm is employed to analyse relationship patterns in low, medium and high-tech product development networks, in terms of actor bonds, resource ties and activity links. Although analyses of the case studies show that there seem to be difficulties for the ARA model to capture and interpret what is in the ‘shadow’ of direct business interaction processes in China, the main solution is drawn from acknowledging the significance of both the business network and the guanxi network approaches as parallel mechanisms or cross-cutting patterns of explaining evolution of business relationships. This research highlights how an Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) approach can be useful to interpret interaction processes in China and argues that the business network approach and IMP thinking, in general, can be enriched by accounting for the empirical phenomenon of guanxi, which manifests in both business and non-business interactive processes. Guanxi networks take on a new perspective as they are viewed and analysed from a dynamic lens under product development contexts. In particular, the emergence and refinement of the concept of guanxi as ‘process of interaction’ or ‘process of organization’ has been a crucial element in the development of IMP thinking. Managerial lessons are drawn by analysing how actors’ interactions influence product and technology co-creation, and how business actors nurture, develop and maintain relationships in China. Findings show that non-business interactive processes at the interpersonal network level influence significantly the formation of activity links, resource interfaces and actor bonds at the inter-organisational level. Hence, accounting for non-business interaction and the socio-cultural features in nurturing, developing and maintaining relationships offers a complimentary approach to contemporary business network research practice.
Supervisor: Cronin, Christopher Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor