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International Journal of Business Environment
International Journal of Business Environment


Special Issue on: "The Impact of Environment on Firms’ Business Relationships"

Guest Editors:
Prof. Peter Thilenius and Prof. Amjad Hadjikhani, Uppsala University, Sweden

The world’s market economies are expanding both in terms of volume and speed of transactions. Still, as firms’ actions become more and more interdependent, the market becomes increasingly confined for them. Regardless of the type of product – whether directed to consumers or industry or in the form of goods or services – production, consumption and competition interrelate firms to a growing extent. This development has inspired research on how firms handle their local and international environments. While earlier marketing studies commonly regarded the environment in a broad sense often inspired by economic theory, this special issue has the ambition to attract research that analyses the empirical world of the environment by employing behaviour theory.

Against this background, the overall aim of this issue is to disclose the environment by giving identity to those within it both affecting and being affected by a firm. The common theme for the issue is to achieve this by employing theoretical views borrowed from relationship and network theory. Recent significant research employing business relationship views has contributed rich marketing knowledge to the theoretical and managerial worlds of business. This growing research trend in marketing constitutes the driving force for the initiation of this special issue.

Widening the research trend in marketing, the specific consideration of this issue is on how the environment impacts firms’ relationships. Reflecting on earlier research efforts, the contributions in this issue will aim at unlocking the environment from a certain theoretical perspective. This business network perspective conceives the environment through the embeddedness of firms and the connectedness of their relationships in their surrounding networks. From this perspective, how firms act and how they are interdependent with specific others in the ‘environment’ becomes the concern for research.

Still, is there a need for this special issue? Every study has the challenge of delivering something new to researchers and/or practitioners. There are a number of concerns here that differ from those of other studies relating to business networks and which make studies relevant for the aim of this special issue. To gain a specific position, the employment of the business networks to explore firms’ behaviour is specifically directed to a) different product types, b) their external interactions with market actors and finally c) different types of industrial, service or consumers markets. Thereby the mission of this special issue is to provide an outlet for contributions focusing on a) the elaboration of new theoretical thoughts and also on b) the inclusion of different types of products and markets.

Empirical and conceptual studies exploring the themes described above are welcome. Focusing on firms’ behaviour, we are particularly interested in studies covering the interconnected themes of business networks and different markets highlighting the impact of the environment.

Subject Coverage
Suitable topics include but are not limited to:

  • How are firms' business relationships connected to others in their environment?
  • How do firms manage different types of connections in the environment?
  • How do different business strategies in different time periods of stability and crises of the environment affect management and vulnerability?
  • To what extent are firms' relationships embedded in their environmental context?
  • How is firms' embeddedness managed in industrial or service activities?
  • How do connections or embeddedness differ for firms acting in specific markets and environments?
  • To what extent and how do firms can manage their connections?

Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. (N.B. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper).

All papers are refereed through a peer review process.

All papers must be submitted online. To submit a paper, please read our Submitting articles page.

Important Dates

Manuscript submission: 15 March, 2014

Results of review process: 31 December, 2014

Submission of final manuscripts: 31 January, 2015