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Understanding Spread of Change through Communication in Business Networks
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
2005 (English)In: 15th Nordic Workshop on Interorganizational Research, Uppsala, 2005Conference paper (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Earlier research shows that business-to-business relationships change continuously through ongoing interaction between the involved parties. Counterparts adapt to each other through incremental steps, making the overall pattern of the relationship rather stable. However, there are situations where actors involved in a business relationship are not able to adjust to each other through gradual steps; situations where the parties might consider or must end their relationship. Business relationship endings often mean a sudden and revolutionary change in the construction of the relationship, i.e. actor bonds, activity links and resource ties. These so called radical changes often appear in clusters with many events in the same industry.

Although business relationship endings have attained increased attention during the last ten years, we still know very little about how such radical changes affect other business relationships in the surrounding network. In a business network perspective relationships are connected with one another, so that changes that occur in one relationship can spread and affect other relationships.

Radical changes create anxiety and speculation in the network, especially when appearing in clusters. Actors in the network assess how the changes will affect them and the future of their relationships. To avoid potential negative effects from spreading from the dyad to the network, relationship endings must be managed in a proper way. Previous research shows that communication has an important role in this context. The communication strategies employed by the disengager affect not only the outcomes for the two parties involved, but also for the connected network. However, studies concerning dissolution communication are very few in number and they are limited in certain aspects. More needs to be done to understand spread of change through communication in business networks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Business Networks, Relationship endings, Dissolution Communication, Spread of Change, Network Effects
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-73966OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-73966DiVA: diva2:101877
Available from: 2008-08-20 Created: 2008-08-20

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