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Småföretag i flerpartssamverkan: en studie av aktörer, byggstenar och fogmassa vid nätverksbyggande
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Business Administration.
1992 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Multibusiness co-operation systems : A study of Actors, Bricks and Concrete in the Construction of Networks Between Small Enterprises (English)
Abstract [en]

The environment for business enterprises and other organizations is changing rapidly and profoundly. These changes generate threats as well as possibilities. The threats are especially pronounced for small enterprises since they lack the large firm's resources to stand up to increasing international competition. One way for small enterprises to deal with this situation is to co-operate with other small enterprises. By pooling resources they may be able to maintain their positions and even move forward. An Multibusiness Co-operation System, MCS, includes many autonomous enterprises and is characterized by voluntary, long-term agreements, flexibility and commitment to a joint goal.

The purpose of this dissertation is to answer the questions of why an MCS is established, what it should be based on, how to keep it together and who should establish the MCS.

To answer these questions we have used a research strategy which can be described as multi-methodological. While starting out with an inductive approach, the theory thus generated has allowed an element of deduction at later stages.

The inductive approach was used in an Experience study and in an In-Depth study. The Experience study showed that it was possible to identify promoting and obstructing factors for forming an MCS. The study also pointed out an existing MCS to be worthy an in-depth study.

This MCS had existed for 20 years and consisted of 15 small enterprises within the joinery-industry. After having interviewed all managers including those who had left the MCS, and after analysing our results through interorganizational theories, we were able to generate a theory of Multibusiness Co-operation Systems. This theory can be divided into three different phases showing an MCS's lifecycle and what is important to consider during the three phases with respect to the Environment, what Bricks to use to form an MCS, the Concrete to use to keep the bricks together and, finally, who should be the Master Builder.

The generated theory has an empirical as well as a theoretical basis but in our opinion it was not yet sufficiently grounded. One way to make it more grounded was to participate in a co-operation process and to learn by acquaintance and, thus, develop the theory.

At this stage our research strategy has got an element of deduction while implementing the generated theory by action research within two different groups of small enterprises. The implementation was successful in both cases showing that the theory worked and even was developed. These two cases also brought some methodological experiences. We found that the dialogue method was fruitful and that different arenas for developmental work can be used during the three different phases of an MCS's lifecycle.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1992. , 401 p.
Studier i företagsekonomi. Serie B, ISSN 0346-8291 ; 32
Keyword [en]
MCS, Network, Environment, Bricks, Concrete, Actors, Generated theory, Multimethodological, Action research, Dialogue, Arenas, Grounded theory
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66613ISBN: 91-7174-714-1OAI: diva2:608910
Public defence
1992-10-16, Skogshögskolan, Sal 1, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15
Available from: 2013-03-01 Created: 2013-02-26 Last updated: 2013-03-01Bibliographically approved

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