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A raft in the stormy sea: new roles, new "dresses" Operating in & form Business Networks

Patrizia Riva
Chinese Business Review ISSN: 1537-1506
Journal Rating AIDEA 2015 (Bozza) : D - 2013-11

This paper aims to discuss the development and functioning conditions of business networks. After recalling the main characteristics of post-fordistic environment and comparing it to a “stormy sea” (section one) of the paper focuses on the idea of networks described as “rafts” useful to firms to build their own competitive advantages. In fact, while theoretical knowledge is not so valuable because everybody can have it, practical and contextual knowledge is specific and therefore it can be defended. The development of a contextual knowledge is feasible if the firm chooses among all the possible alternatives. Subsequently in section two, it shows how fordistic principles eliminate space, reduce time, and increase the speed of communication among individuals and as entering a network has become a necessity as it allows a firm to obtain competitive advantages. The greatest benefit is the chance to share the task of creating new knowledge among different members. In section three it is discussed if navigation in the post-fordistic stormy sea could take advantage from the existence of a more certain regulation. It is necessary to underline that positive law is not a post-fordistic tool. There is no satisfactory detailed law regarding ideas, knowledge, and know-how, by now. Therefore, it is not possible to rely on a specific regulation framework to protect knowledge found on the network. In conclusion in section four, the work discusses how single organizations need to reach the “raft”—which is the network—through the idea of sharing learning and distinguishing elements necessary to survive in the stormy sea post-Fordism environment. Lastly, section five would be analyzed a public institution—Milan Chamber of Commerce—which has “changed its dress” to more effectively perform its support role to firms.