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Title: How do SME networks evolve? : investigating network context, features and outcomes amongst agrifood SMEs in Greece
Author: Lamprinopoulou, Chrysa
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis aims to examine the dynamics and interplay between contextual factors and network features and their role in SME network evolution, with a view to building a theory of how context and features affect SME network performance outcomes. Given the complexity of the phenomenon under investigation, a case study methodology was employed. Specifically, four cases of Greek agrifood SME networks were selected of which two exhibited strong performance and two relatively weak performance. Following literature review, the influence of three categories of contextual factor {market conditions, social cohesiveness, external institutional support), and three types of network feature {member profile, competencies, network governance) were examined empirically via the case studies. The research found that all six had some individual influence on performance, but beyond this, certain patterns of interplay between factors could be distinguished. In particular, certain positive .factors were found to counteract the negative influence of other existing (or lacking) factors. Specifically, in terms of network features, governance structure was found to have a countervailing effect over negative performance outcomes produced by diverse member profile and lack of competencies. In addition, the competencies of the constructor of the governance structure were also important in overcoming deficiencies in other features. In terms of network context, social cohesiveness seemed to have a countervailing effect over contextual disincentives for network strengthening, such as unfavourable market conditions or lack of external institutional support. Overall, the research finds that network features are key to explaining the variability in performance displayed by SME networks operating in a very similar context, since they moderate the impacts of external forces on the evolution and performance outcomes of those networks. The research concludes with a proposed framework to explain how context, features and outcomes interact in SME networks.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available