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Elina Varamäki, University of Vaasa
Three Dimensions of Interfirm Cooperation
This study tries for its own part to fill the most common gaps in previous literature concerning SME-cooperation by adopting a longitudinal and holistic approach to studying the process of SME-cooperation. The main objective of this study is to create propositions about typical paths of the development process of interfirm cooperation based on empirical evidence. A secondary objective is to compare the development process of 'more successful' and 'less successful' nets. The development process has been divided into three different dimensions: a strategic, a network management and a socio-psychological dimension. The data for this study consists of four cases: two joint ventures (a more successful and a less successful one) and two project groups (a more successful and a less successful one). The results indicate that the socio-psychological dimension and the strategic dimension play important roles in the development process while the network management dimension is rather a consequence of other dimensions. The study also proves that intensifying interfirm cooperation is extremely difficult; surprisingly often the development process proceeds in the "wrong direction".
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