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Title: Dealing with risk in business networks : the use of institutional devices
Author: Rindt, Jekaterina
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 5910
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis examines how companies deal with risk in business networks. Drawing on empirical evidence from German food retailer-manufacturer networks and existent research conducted at the intersection of business network and institutional research, this thesis examines two under-researched questions: What constitutes risk in business networks? And how do companies deal with risk in business networks? In answering these questions, this research refines our understanding of risk in business networks by proposing an uncertainty-based conceptualisation of risk and developing an institution-based explanation of how companies deal with risk in business networks. While network research provides a relevant ontological understanding of business interactions, this thesis draws on institutional research to explain how companies use institutional devices, including industry standards, General Terms and Conditions and framework contracts, for dealing with risk at three interdependent levels of interaction: Network, focal, and dyadic interaction. In this way, the thesis offers one of the first ventures developing an institution-based explanation of how companies deal with risk in business networks. The institution-based explanation of how companies deal with risk is captured in the development of an integrative framework. This framework conceptually crystallizes the synthesis of network and institution-based research by mapping companies’ use of institutional devices onto the three levels of network interaction. The institution-based explanation illuminates how institutional devices facilitate dealing with risk interactively across direct and indirect interactions, because their manifestation in business artefacts enables transcending time and space. This contribution is informed by empirical analysis of business artefacts-in-use and is conceptually captured in extending the Actor-Resources-Activities model. Methodologically, this thesis employs a critical realist epistemology and network ontology to underpin qualitative case study research in German food retailer-manufacturer networks. The empirical evidence involves data triangulation from 42 in-depth semi-structured interviews, participant observation and analysis of business artefacts-in-use, including documentation of the International Featured Standard, eleven General Terms and Conditions and six framework contracts.
Supervisor: Mouzas, Stefanos ; Alexander, Nicholas Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral