Networking capability: a systematic review of literature and future research agenda

Arasti, M. R ; Sharif University of Technology | 2021

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  1. Type of Document: Article
  2. DOI: 10.1108/JBIM-06-2020-0273
  3. Publisher: Emerald Group Holdings Ltd , 2021
  4. Abstract:
  5. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to scrutinize the existing literature and provide a comprehensive overview by compiling and synthesizing the dispersed body of knowledge in the networking capability (NC) literature stream. Therefore, this review study contributes to the research by presenting a summary of the NC complex construct. Design/methodology/approach: The authors have tried to cover the literature gap in the NC area through a systematic review. Findings: The theoretical contributions of this study to the NC literature stream are fourfold. First, while critically reviewing existing definitions, the authors present an integrated definition of NC. Second, the authors delineate the conceptual boundary between NC and other similar capabilities. Third, the authors found that the focal firms’ NC consists of two key dimensions: network development capability (NDC) and network management capability (NMC). Fourth, they contribute to the literature by providing a set of suggestions for further research in the NC literature stream. Research limitations/implications: This study has some limitations, like other review studies. First, although the authors have tried their best to conduct a comprehensive literature search, they may have missed a study. Second, it should be noted that this study has confined itself to a particular stream of literature. Undoubtedly, in other streams, there will be issues similar to the concepts discussed in this study. The main purpose of this study is to integrate a series of studies that have a common theoretical foundation and fall within a particular literature stream. Although the focus of this study may be positive, it can be said that the deprivation of achievements from other similar streams is one of the limitations of this study. Third, another limitation of this study is the lack of verification of the conceptual framework derived from the literature that needs to be addressed in future research. Practical implications: This study suggests a set of practical implications for industrial managers. First, the authors summarize the firms’ capabilities needed to develop and manage networks in one single source. Based on the conceptual framework of this study, firms can develop managerial tools, technological options, checklists and questionnaires and monitor the status of NC in their surrounding network on an ongoing basis. Second, the present research shows that some NCs are more repetitive than others, and therefore, it can be said that managers should pay more attention to them. The critical NCs, such as determining network position, determining network size, partner selection and attraction, coordination, inter-firm knowledge sharing and conflict resolution, are included in this study. Third, the argument of this study that both NDC and NMC should be considered simultaneously can be thought of as an important practical implication. Although in terms of the network life cycle, NDC is required earlier than NMC, these two capabilities should be used in parallel. Managers should not expect network development to be perfect and then network management to begin; therefore, NMCs should be used during network development. Originality/value: Research shows that most network studies focus more on network antecedents and outputs and less on processes and related capabilities. Some researchers have made few efforts to identify and scrutinize capabilities related to business relationships. In this context, IMP scholars have introduced NC to emphasize the network perspective. Despite the considerable conceptual and empirical richness, the existence of different nomenclatures and theoretical diversity in NC literature has led to conceptual ambiguity and a lack of consensus on this crucial complex construct. © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited
  6. Keywords:
  7. Systematic review ; Network perspective ; Networking capability ; Network development capability ; Network management capability
  8. Source: Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing ; Volume 37, Issue 1 , 2021 , Pages 160-179 ; 08858624 (ISSN)
  9. URL: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JBIM-06-2020-0273/full/html