Technical development in networks. The importance of third parties

A number of recent studies have emphasised the importance of inter-organisational relationships with regard to technical development. Drawing on the recognition that neither single firms nor individual relationships can be analysed in isolation, we focus in this paper on the importance of third parties for the development of a relationship. That is, every relationship is assumed to be connected to other relationships and thus to various third parties. The analysis is based on a case study and focused on interdependency among resource entities. These resource entities are categorised into products, facilities, business units and relationships. The conclusions are twofold. Firstly, the characteristics of third party impact have been found to be partial, un-symmetrical and non-proportional. Secondly, we show that the value of a relationship for the involved companies is highly dependent upon connections to third parties.

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