The phenomenon of business networks and relational organization
I tried to understand the good practices - in terms of relational assets, innovation, sustainability and organizational climate - of organizations that decide to integrate and combine, deactivating their own self-referentiality in order to build something else, such as: business networks, innovation poles, consortia of universities and businesses; cultural-social foundations, hybrid artistic-entrepreneurial associations. Interesting things have emerged:
- The most effective, long-lasting and efficient configurations are those networks that become we-relation-oriented communities and exchanges of relational goods that are crucial to the achievement of profit or prestige or other goals.
- Granovetter's well-known theory on weak ties is, from certain points of view, redefined. In business networks, for example, in order to generate new organizational forms, it is necessary to consolidate ties before making irreversible decisions. This means that customary interpersonal relationships are established, based on reciprocity and shared values.
- In India, China and Japan, Korea of the South this way of operating has not never been put in discussion and has determined the explosion of the industrial districts. In Italy this model has been winning from the years '60 to the years '90 above all in the famous "Third Italy": Veneto, Emilia, Marches, Umbria, a part of the Lombardy and a part of the Abruzzi, where nets of enterprise are been born before that they are called in this way.
- Above all, it has been observed that, in the course of time, the relational dynamics of business networks and consortia become as strong as family or friendship dynamics: only after this mutation from weak to strong, do the networks assume stable and productive connotations. Obviously, the observations are not yet of a sufficient quantity to be able to demonstrate this in an incontrovertible way. But the road is marked out.
- The most important fact that emerges from the research is connected to the theme of Policy/Rules. For years we have been witnessing the birth of European and national regulations that encourage collaboration between different subjects, especially with regard to business networks. Networks/business communities created without using public funds have proven to be more effective and faster. Many configurations born "opportunistically", i.e., taking advantage of incentives, have dissolved after using the incentive. This proves that public incentive mechanisms should be reviewed. Networks should be rewarded for achieving results and not simply because individuals decide to aggregate. This means profoundly revising the lib/lab policy system. Public financial support should support those who already intended to pursue an initiative, avoiding creating "systemic traps" where subjects respond to calls for funding with the sole purpose of "taking regardless of what is returned".
- Finally, the regulatory constraints of incentive mechanisms often distort the hidden policy objective behind the funding program.