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Industrial business networks as empirical manifestations of complex adaptive economic systems: Ontological consequences and methodological challenges
Örebro University, Orebro University School of Business, Örebro University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6646-9798
2015 (English)In: Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP), Workshop on Theory and Methods, 2015Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The affinity between IMP industrial networks and complexity theory has been pointed out drawing on many accounts of systems facing turbulent environments. The character of industrial networks, business interactions and business relationships closely resembles that of complex adaptive systems displaying emergence, self-organization and distributed control. Given the idea that industrial business networks are essentially empirical manifestations of complex adaptive systems, a number of issues arise. First, this means that we combine two distinct ontologies: network and systems ontology, which needs to be explicated. This paper addresses the ontological and methodological issues arising from a combined mixed systems and network ontology. It contributes with a systematic discussion on how network and systems ontologies can be combined to produce better understandings of business networks. It also provides a brief review of the state-of-the art research literature on the topic as a starting point for our discussion. The purpose is to highlight the ontological implications of combining network and systems ontologies to conceptualize industrial networks as the empirical manifestations of complex adaptive economic systems. Findings indicate that: 1) Networks may be enclosed in each other constituting sub- and supra-networks comprising increasing complexity. In these cases, sub-networks that are black-boxed can be seen as entities in themselves producing inputs and outputs to the supra-network. 2) Networks, once they become black-boxed, can assume the functions of generative mechanisms within a wider supra-network. From a methodological point of view agent-based modeling can be one modus operandi. These findings are discussed and areas in need of more research are identified.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
Keyword [en]
Network ontology, Systems ontology, Complex adaptive systems, Network boundaries, Social generative mechanisms, Agent-based modelling
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-47834OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-47834DiVA: diva2:898950
Conference
Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP), Workshop on Theory and Methods, Lugano, Switzerland, October 6-8, 2015
Available from: 2016-01-29 Created: 2016-01-29 Last updated: 2016-02-03Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf