How to aid entry to business networks using collective social processes
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Antony WardAntony Ward, R Shackleford
The role and benefits of business networks has long been recognised. One of the main difficulties faced by businesses is identifying which networks to enter, and then finding a way to gain the entry desired. This problem is particularly acute for Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as many managers do not appreciate how important networks are to their business success, and where many managers do not know how to gain entry to appropriate network(s). The research used the Activities, Actors, Resources model (AAR) as a theoretical base. This research addressed a tourism area on the Sunshine Coast where SMEs predominated, and where casual observation had identified a long-term problem of SMEs gaining entry to appropriate networks. The technique studied was the use of a collective social process, called network nights, to which local tourism operators were invited, predominately SMEs. The results showed that these network nights were beneficial in facilitating interaction between SME operators by assisting the nurturing of relationships, and thus providing the opportunity for network entry. There are three main contributions by this study, firstly the application of the AAR model to a service industry, secondly the use of collective social processes rather than dyadic processes to promote business networks, and thirdly through a modified version of the AAR model reflecting collective social processes for SMEs.