Management of dynamic networks and the performance of industrial systems (Dynamo) Katri Valkokari
Introduction “Strategic networks are long-term, purposeful arrangements among distinct but related for-profit organizations that allow those firms in them to gain or sustain competitive advantage vis-à-vis their competitors outside the network” Jarillo, 1988
The main aim of the Dynamo research project was to create new concepts and methods for the management and control of business relationships and networks. A broader vision of the project is to identify the general trends of future success factors of the management of business relationships and networks. The dynamo project aims to build practical tools especially for the management of performance and growth in a networked environment in order to find answers to a wide variety of questions in the context of industrial networks: • How should a network that includes many kinds of partners be managed? • What is the benefit to a company of belonging to a network? • How can many different networks be joined at the same time? • How can growth and economies of scale be gained through networking? • How can new business ideas be developed through networking? • Why invest in joint operations if it calls for resources?
How can core competence be retained while cooperating with network partners?
The project was executed in cooperation with the Helsinki School of Economics, the University of Vaasa, the Helsinki University of Technology (BIT Research Centre) and the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA).
Methods The research strategy employed in our study was a qualitative multiple case study. An action research approach was used in order to research the phenomenon of network dynamics inside. Understanding the differences between the practical reasoning of managers and the academic interpretation also requires researchers to use second-order questions to determine local meanings. Ten actors, with an interest in the management of networks, and their networks attended the Dynamo project. The actors were from various industries and very different in size and network position. The project was therefore able to have a broad view of the challenges and opportunities for network development. Compared with a single-case study, the advantage of a multiple-case study is that it gathers evidence from multiple cases and is thus regarded as more robust. The summary of the case studies is presented in Table 1.
Production matters. VTT in global trends. Kai Häkkinen (ed.)