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Using Case Methods In The Study Of Contemporary Business Networks

A. Halinen, Jan-Åke Törnroos
Published 2005 · Sociology

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Abstract Business conditions have changed significantly since the first notions of networks in industrial marketing were made in the early 1980s. Globalization and the so-called “new economy” are based on continuous change, the increasing use of information and communication technologies and complex networks of relationships between firms. This being the case, we should look more closely at how networks are constituted and how they currently function. This paper gives perspectives on how to conduct case research for understanding contemporary business networks. Four imminent challenges of case research that aims at theory development are discussed: the problem of network boundaries, network complexity, the role of time and case comparisons. Potential tools and ideas for solving these problems are put forward. A multicountry research project on business networks is used as an illustrative example. The paper ends with a discussion about how to conduct case studies in practice including implications.
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