Title: Exploring chain, network and cluster collaborative practices: implications for SMEs

Authors: Aristides Matopoulos, Maro Vlachopoulou, Vicky Manthou

Addresses: Department of Applied Informatics, University of Macedonia, 156 Egnatia Street, Thessaloniki 54006, Greece. ' Department of Applied Informatics, University of Macedonia, 156 Egnatia Street, Thessaloniki 54006, Greece. ' Department of Applied Informatics, University of Macedonia, 156 Egnatia Street, Thessaloniki 54006, Greece

Abstract: Collaboration among enterprises has been rendered as one of the most important issues in the business agenda, either as a result of the globalisation and deregulation of markets or as a result of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) revolution. Both factors have created a business reality where success in the collaboration practices followed, may result in improvements in the competitive position of enterprises. This paper starts from the basic business activity of the individual enterprise, looks into the chain, network and cluster collaborative practices and analyses their characteristics and the implications for Small–Medium Enterprises (SMEs). In addition, it provides insights regarding the opportunities, benefits, requirements and risks related to each collaborative practice. This paper finally argues that different collaboration practices are required, as enterprises and the industrial sectors where they operate, present distinctive characteristics.

Keywords: supply chain management; SCM; supply chain collaboration; collaborative networks; clusters; collaborative practices; small and medium enterprises; SMEs; enterprise collaboration.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2006.009531

International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, 2006 Vol.3 No.2, pp.142 - 155

Available online: 19 Apr 2006 *

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