Change in offline and online networks in international business : an empirical case study in clothing industry
1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, International Business
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201406101749
|Publish Date:|| 2014-06-17
|Thesis type:||Master's thesis
This study was conducted to provide further insight to network change. Previous studies have concentrated on offline business networks, but research on online networks is still currently missing. This thesis focuses on investigating networks in emergence, internationalization and growth phases and analyzing the similarities and differences between offline and online networks during each phase. Fashion industry was selected to provide the context for this study. The study phenomenon is conducted by qualitative single-case study research methodology. Theoretical framework is based on a thorough review of academic literature. The framework is used initially to form the interview questions and later for analyzing the interview results. The empirical data is collected by conducting a semi-structured, in-depth interview of two of the most knowledgeable informants of the case company. The goal of the interview is to gain rich data of networks in each development phase, and therefore the ARA-model is applied in interview. Overall the study reveals interesting and novel findings of online and offline networks. Both networks changed throughout the organizational development process and offline development affected the online network. It was also discovered that some of the actors were the same in online and offline networks. For example external distributors use both offline and online sales channels. Further interesting finding was that good offline reputation affected positively relationship building in an online environment. As this is a single case study, generalization of the findings is problematic. However, the interview findings corresponded well with previous academic literature, suggesting that the study results of the current study are reliable. The study provides managerial implications and suggestions for future study.
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