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Standing Working Group on Organizational Network Research

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The newly founded Standing Group on Business Network Research wishes to introduce itself to EGOS' members and invites all interested scholars to participate in its activities.

Studies on business networks have been flourishing in the last decades. They have become one of the liveliest research fields in organization. In practice, the phenomenon is of growing importance. It is particularly relevant in Europe, because interfirm coordination is one of the terrains on which European integration is taking place. Recent collaborative endeavors(1) have shown that there are various qualified academic groups working in the area, and have helped increase their collaboration. These groups represent various disciplines, theoretical orientations, and study business networks at a variety of levels. They include:

  • studies in organization science, institutional economics, structural sociology and management;
  • studies at the level of social and interpersonal networks, on network structures within and between firms, on markets as networks.

Despite mutual recognition and interest in one another's work the field up to now lacks an institutionalized forum for exchanging ideas and research results. The proposed Standing Group seeks to remedy this state of affairs within the framework of EGOS.

Business network research has implications for, and can indeed contribute to, the development of organization science more generally. This is because:

  • by employing a relational perspective, it tends to disentangle typological and monolithic conceptions of organization forms ( e.g. ‘bureaucracies, markets and clans’) and to see other sets of possible organizational configurations;
  • it makes use of network analysis techniques supporting configurational rather than traditional cross-sectional contingency research;
  • it invites ‘cross-boundary’ organizational analysis – whatever these boundaries are (of firms, nations, industries or others) and a critical reflection on what organizational boundaries are.

The proposed activities of the Standing Group on Network Research include:

  • providing an international forum for the exchange of ideas and research results; organizing workshops at EGOS Colloquia, so as to realize cumulative learning (see the separate Call);
  • encouraging joint work among European scholars, through faculty exchanges, joint submissions to European Programs for collaboration, joint publications;
  • organizing exchanges of doctoral students working in the area of business network research and arranging doctoral symposia;
  • possibly publishing a newsletter informing about relevant activities in the field.

The Standing Group on Business Network Research aims at becoming a wide and open community, albeit institutionalized and able to constitute a reference for action and an arena for debate.

The Standing Group on Business Network Research is coordinated by Anna Grandori (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and Bocconi University, Milan, Italy) and Mark Ebers (Augsburg University, Germany). Its sponsors include a number of internationally renowned scholars, among them Amin (UK), Blanc (F), Cantwell (UK), Child (UK), Cohendet (F), Grabher (UK), Grandi (I), Hagedoorn (NL), Håkansson (SW), Jarillo (CH), Lampel (UK), Lomi (I), Nooteboom (NL), Oliver (IL), Ring (USA), Sydow (D), and Van den Bosch (NL).

We invite you to join the Standing Group on Business Network Research.

Specifically, we ask you to respond to the following three Calls:

Call for Standing Group participants: All those who are interested in being kept informed on the Standing Group's activities and in participating in its events should send a statement of interest to both Mark Ebers and Anna Grandori.

Call for Standing Group activity organizers: All those who are interested in contributing to the Standing Group's activities, e.g. by organizing events or by suggesting other activities that are relevant for the development of the group, are welcome to send proposals to both Mark Ebers and Anna Grandori.

Call for Participation in the Standing Group's sub-theme at the EGOS Colloquium in Lyon, 5 – 7th July, 2001: Click here.


The Standing Group's coordinators welcome your response, preferably by email, at the following addresses:
Mark Ebers
Anna Grandori

We look forward to hearing from you.

Anna Grandori and Mark Ebers

(1) A recent Europe-wide experience which helped in connecting European scholars in the field has been the EMOT Programme (‘European Management and Organization in Transition’), supported by the European Science Foundation, directed by Anna Grandori and Richard Whitley. Two of the five sections of the Programme were related to interfirm boundaries and networks issues. Moreover, the last four EGOS Colloquia devoted sub-themes to network research.