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Innovation-based Nets as Collective Actors: A Heterarchization Case Study from the Automotive Industry

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Abstract

Cooperation and collaboration between companies represents a key issue within the conceptual framework developed by the IMP Group. However, little attention has been paid to a phenomenon which can result from such collaboration, i.e. collective action. This involves cooperative activities undertaken by a significant number of actors sharing a common aim. This research uses the concept of issue-based net to open new avenues to understand collective action in the context of innovation activities, specifically by analyzing a case study of an innovation-based net in the automotive industry. Two main objectives are addressed in this study: Related to this discussion of different development paths of collective actors, the case study analysis focuses on how issue-based nets emerge and evolve in situations of innovation, specifically, what kind of structure and process issues characterize a heterarchization development path. Furthermore, the analysis addressed how issue-based nets change the positioning of individual member firms, a well as that of the collective actor within the overall network.

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