Authors: Rita Henriques
Abstract: This paper aims to explore the nature of individual results for firms involved in a business association network of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and to determine the factors that explain both firm's participation in network's activity and firm's appropriation of results, testing the role of participation as a relevant mechanism to improve firms’ ability to capture benefits. The research assumes the design of a single case study articulated with Social Network Analysis (SNA) measurements to help constructing a conceptual model estimated using a Partial Least Squares (PLS) path modeling approach. Findings show evidence that (1) network results are clearly multidimensional and can be further discriminated into two different dimensions: benefits - concrete advantages - and value - not realizable in any benefit; (2) peripheral actors perceive more benefits and firms with more homogeneous relationships perceive higher value; (3) firms with interactive partnership profiles and distant contacts portfolios are more involved in network's activity; and (4) more engaged companies rip off more benefits. Two instruments for network's management and outline of strategies were identified: optimize firms’ participation and maximize perceived value probably through network’s reputation and legitimacy. Crossing structural and relational approaches and focusing on a specific context of business association, it was possible to infer on SME's involvement and appropriation of results in this specific type of networks.
Keywords: networks, innovation, appropriation of benefits, small and medium enterprises, value