A Study of Responsiveness and Agility for Networks of Collaborators
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This research investigates the governance structures of collaborative networks to gain an insight into their functioning. The focus is on the factors that the collaborators view as important in their pursuit to achieve agility and responsiveness in their business models. Due to the exploratory nature of this research with the constraints of time, a qualitative research based on the multiple case study has been undertaken to find the answers to the research questions. Towards this objective, the research investigates four cases of collaborative networks that use ICT. The semi structured interviews constitute the primary source of data collection. The following are the main findings of this thesis, which are highlighted as follows: 1. It has concluded that effective communication is an essential requirement for the success of a CN project. 2. The thesis has validated a commonly held notion that skills and expertise in a specialised area is an essential ingredient for success in a network. 3. The thesis findings point to several factors that lead to achieving agility and responsiveness of business model for the participating organisations. Many of these factors are in conformity with earlier published work, thereby validating those. 4. The thesis has defined the factors responsible for achieving BM agility and an optimum level of responsiveness for a network of multiple (more than two) collaborators, from which the desired characteristics of an Agile and Responsive Business Model may be determined. Business model agility was also studied across the two different structures of networks. The first of these is the unbundled structure that relates to each of the collaborators working on their units of work. The other type is the vertically integrated, which deals with more tightly coupled organisations. The case studies were used to determine the impact of different modes of governance and network configuration on partner flexibility. As a result of the data analysis during the research, five distinct themes have emerged. Some of the themes are similar to those reported in earlier studies, thus validating them. Past studies on collaborative networks for the research areas, similar to this study are found to be scarce. Therefore this study has added to the body of knowledge for collaborative networks that aim to achieve responsiveness and agility of their business models. In the concluding chapter, the answers to the main research questions have been provided and the contribution of this thesis is discussed. Finally the limitations of the study, with the recommendations for further research areas that this study has opened up is discussed.