How Inter-Organizational Networks Can Become Path-Dependent: Bargaining in the Photonics Industry

Schmalenbach Business Review, Vol. 66, 2014

44 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2012 Last revised: 17 Mar 2013

See all articles by Markus Burger

Markus Burger

Free University of Berlin (FUB)

Jörg Sydow

Freie Universität Berlin

Date Written: August 6, 2012

Abstract

This paper investigates how path dependence may come about in inter-organizational networks. To do so, we focus our analysis on one particular type of network management practices – bargaining practices – and ask whether and how they can become path-dependent. Bargaining practices are recurrent activities through which network partners agree to identify and distribute their cooperative surplus. Targeting these practices, we first operationalize the core concepts of path dependence theory by deriving empirical indicators. We then use a ‘pattern matching’ approach to analyze whether these empirical indicators can be found in real bargaining practices. Empirically, we conduct three case studies of regional networks in the photonics industry. We use qualitative interviews and content analysis to reconstruct the development dynamics of their bargaining practices. A major finding is that network bargaining practices can indeed exhibit inter-organizational path dependencies. This paper contributes not only by operationalizing the theory of organizational path dependence but also by extending this theory to the network level of analysis.

Keywords: inter-organizational networks, path dependence, photonics industry, practice theory, empirical, qualitative

Suggested Citation

Burger, Markus and Sydow, Jörg, How Inter-Organizational Networks Can Become Path-Dependent: Bargaining in the Photonics Industry (August 6, 2012). Schmalenbach Business Review, Vol. 66, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2125188 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2125188

Markus Burger (Contact Author)

Free University of Berlin (FUB) ( email )

Van't-Hoff-Str. 8
Berlin, Berlin 14195
Germany

Jörg Sydow

Freie Universität Berlin ( email )

School of Business & Economics
Boltzmannstrasse 20
D-14195 Berlin
Germany
49-30-83853782 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.fu-berlin.de/wiwiss

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