Structural and agentic analysis of supply-chains: a social network analysis approach

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Sloane, Alan
O'Reilly, Seamus
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Centre for Concurrent Enterprise, Nottingham University Business School
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This research adds to a body of work exploring the role of Social Network Analysis (SNA) in the study of both relational and structural characteristics of supply chain networks. Two contrasting network cases (food enterprises and digital-based enterprises) are chosen in order to elicit structural differences in business networks subject to divergences in local embeddedness and the relative materiality of the goods and services produced. Our analysis and findings draw out differences in network structure as evidenced by metrics of network centralization and cohesion, the presence of components and other sub-groupings, and the position of central actors. We relate these structural features both to the nature of the networks and to the (qualitative) experiences of the actors themselves. We find, in particular, the role of customers as co-creators of knowledge (for the Food network), the central role of infrastructure and services (for the Digital network), the importance of ICT as a source of codified knowledge inputs, along with the continuing importance of geographical proximity for the development and transfer of tacit knowledge and for incremental learning.
SNA , Supply chain networks , Food network , Digital network , Social network analysis
Sloane, A. and O'Reilly, S. (2011) ‘Structural and agentic analysis of supply-chains: a social network analysis approach, in Pawar, K. S. & Rogers, H. (eds.) Re-building supply chains for a globalised world, 16th international symposium on logistics (ISL 2011) Berlin, Germany, 10-14 July, pp 125-136. isbn: 978 085358 278 6.
© Nottingham University Business School, 2011