Title: Leveraging elements to small business strategic networks: the perception of business partners

Authors: Daniel Battaglia; Christopher Pohlmann; Janine Barbosa Moura; Miriam Borchardt; Giancarlo Medeiros Pereira

Addresses: Management, Production and Logistics Department, Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Osvaldo Aranha, 540, ZIP Code 95700-000, Bento Gonçalves – RS, Brazil ' Information Systems Department, Vale do Rio dos Sinos University, Av. Unisinos, 950, ZIP Code 93022-000, São Leopoldo – RS, Brazil ' Production and System Engineering Department, Vale do Rio dos Sinos University, São Leopoldo, Rua Afonso Arinos, 124, ZIP Code 91910-350, Porto Alegre – RS, Brazil ' Production and System Engineering Department, Vale do Rio dos Sinos University, Av. Unisinos, 950. ZIP Code 93200-000, São Leopoldo, RS, Brazil ' Production and System Engineering Department, Vale do Rio dos Sinos University, Av. Unisinos, 950, CEP 93200-000, São Leopoldo – RS, Brazil

Abstract: This study aims to identify the elements that leverage the competitiveness of small business strategic networks (SBSNs) and to analyse how these elements are regarded by the business partners in SBSNs. The findings suggest that a set of elements serves this function, including the governance of the network, the share of resources/capabilities, the depth of exchange relations and the strength of the partnerships formed. Governance may be related to self-management-oriented abilities and consolidation. Centralised production can facilitate the sharing of resources and optimise the use of available capacities. Greater partnership strength may contribute to consolidating alliances and to sharing information. Companies must improve how they share technical knowledge and information with their partners and adopt global indicators, such as costs, sales and operations. Moreover, companies must undertake marketing actions together, such as participating in fairs and engaging in co-branded usage (to reinforce their value and strengthen the network brand). In particular, in the case studies investigated herein, such findings contribute by helping to align the management practices of SBSNs operating in the printing and metal-mechanics industries.

Keywords: strategic business networks; small business; leveraging elements; competitiveness; partnerships; relationships; network development; small firms; business partner perceptions; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; strategic networks; network governance; self-management; collaboration; consolidation; resource sharing; capacity optimisation; technical knowledge; information sharing; marketing cooperation; co-branding.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBEX.2017.083340

International Journal of Business Excellence, 2017 Vol.12 No.1, pp.83 - 101

Available online: 17 Mar 2017 *

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