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Title: Organisational networking, strategic change and the family business
Author: Fletcher, Denise E.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3469 5136
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis develops and applies a conceptual and methodological approach to the study of strategic change processes within a small family firm. Primary attention is given to a network perspective of organisations which, it is argued, provides the study with a more appropriate conceptual base for investigating the complex ways in which firms organise themselves internally and externally in industrial markets. A network perspective on organisations provides for more sophisticated theorising on strategic change issues and the entrepreneurial capabilities of small firms. Although the approach developed within the thesis is relevant to the study of both large and small organisations, a small family firm provides the empirical focus of this study. Conceptualisations of family businesses are, therefore, also examined. The three main conceptual themes (of networks, strategic change/entrepreneurship and family) are then integrated to form the analytical framework of the thesis. Most existing network studies conceive of networks as chacteristics of organisations or as particular forms of organisation. This study, however, develops a view of organisational networking as a conversational or discursive process through which meanings are shaped and shared within the organisation. This perspective on networking facilitates the study of processes of 'multi-loguing' and conversations that are an expression of the relationships and interactions organisational members have with each other. A network approach is examined from the perspective of both inter and intra-organisational relationships. It is argued that inter and intra-organisational relationships are embedded in and shaped by social relations which become more complex and enmeshing over time. A view of organisational networking is developed which is concerned with investigating interpretations and patterns of meanings as they are inter-subjectively shared and shaped through social relational processes. Emphasis is placed on how collective patterns of meaning (of family, change issues, orientations to work) emerge over time as a result of discursive networking practices. It is argued that collective meanings and actions become institutionalised within the organisation through social relational patterns and the development of a common language. A relational view of networking is facilitated by a social constructionist approach. The study is shaped and constructed through interpretive, ethnographic and reflexive inquiry. A case study is constructed around three main themes: family business, strategic change and networking which emerge from field work and close observation of the company over a ten-month period. In particular, meanings and interpretations of 'family' and of 'strategic change' are examined in the context of a declining manufacturing company. The ways in which collective patterns of meaning become 'realised' in the shaping of organisational action and practices are emphasised. It is argued that a social constructionist approach yields deeper insights into family, entrepreneurship and strategic change issues through close investigation of social relational processes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Family firms