Network management and new competitiveness

The networks create a specific type of social solidarity (Durkheim was talking about) or become a social consensus that their bond, allowing the overall adequacy of difficulties faced.

Scheme 5 Heterogeneous networks of cooperation in terms of production

Heterogeneous networks of cooperation in terms of production

Corporative management

All these virtual advantages require a new type-specific management. It is about the corporate management which is seeking to apply even in individual organizations.[1] The principle of "corporate" is based on the concept of "social body," a complex of professions and social positions that cooperate for a common goal. Leaving the conflicting views on relations employer - employee, the concept of "corporatism" supports the existence of common interests of the "parts" that make up a "social body" (also uses the term "stakeholders" - that would look "legitimate owners of race" in a business) and - the division of social labor - participating in a joint activity.

The concept of "social body" may be related to the "partnership," the social body consisting of different "parts" of a uniform reality. Management of the corporate regards the network as a "social body" composed of actors with legitimate interests and common that need to be directed so that the virtual to become actual interests. Cooperative management of heterogeneous networks is significantly different from that of a company.

The specific management in these cases includes:

1. The voluntary nature of participation, each player with full autonomy. Decision - Self-made - will consider both the advantages and inherent risks and uncertainties. Therefore, a clear picture of what you want, what offers and what is required is of particular importance.

2. The contradictory character of participation, because network involves both cooperation and, therefore, support other network actors, a "self," action, a competition among network members, and focus on self-interest.

3. The negotiated character and renegotiated of the network, the configuration involving a clash of interests, a struggle based on each actor's power in relation to weight its contribution, with its competitive value, with the ability to be or not easily changed with another actor similar bill.

During its operation, the balance of power may change, requiring a renegotiation of positions. The negotiation refers to: a contribution of actor network and the benefits claimed by the degree of freedom that gives each player an active network even outside it, that will coordinate the network and hierarchical relationships within it, positioning actors from the external environment, etc.

Stages of creating networks of heterogeneous cooperation

The translation is "a general process by which social and natural world is formed and stabilized gradually."[2] "The translation" includes several stages: problematization, incentives, recruitment and mobility of network participants.

The problematization is the main creative moment in which an actor (an institution) takes the initiative to establish a network that it "directs" it. An actor seeks questioning thereby not only to establish cooperation with other useful players, but also to become the network promoter, the core that will get all the links. For this, the "initiative" actor will establish the object of cooperation, objectives, possible motivations of virtual employees, benefits and obligations, the type of interactions, work flow, in a word, the "(design) of the network, the system of alliances and associations."[3]

Setting the "border" of the network will involve network relationships with the market, with other competitors, with providers outside the network, administrative, etc. with other networks. An important point of problematization is to ensure transfer-ability of products of each actor member, any collaboration with intermediaries of transfer. In this framework, the network can establish relationships with other networks ("network of networks") for partial cooperation. Such network cooperation is established between a product network - intensive - cognitive with a supply network with some complex technologies or raw materials (Scheme 6).

It is seen that the main network benefit from the contribution of other networks (A and B) and, in turn, provides a support to network (C).

The cooperation often involves transfer operators owned by a network that are not always necessary to other network. It would be uneconomic as a network to contain all institutions and companies involved, during the activity. Calling other networks (perhaps specialized) which also provides transfer operators is useful.

The transfer intermediaries are some products (human and nonhuman) created and moved from one pole to another. Sometimes, it is also useful to appeal to other networks to get some transfer intermediaries (circulating intermediaries) or use the endowments of other networks (uncirculated intermediaries). The transfer operators also provide "best practices" and, therefore, are useful to other networks. Such transfer operators are: incubators, "business angels" (donors), science parks, industrial parks, business type star-up and spin-off, etc.

The incentives ("l'interessement") is the stage where various actors generate interest and motivation to participate in the network, to accept the actor's initiative that problematized the project to see the benefits and be willing to commit its resources in the operation of network. Management has now the most difficult step to go: to demonstrate the prevalence of real advantages to risks and uncertainties implied, to create practical confidence. Negotiation involves confrontation of interests, visions, all aspects of competition is required to be converted into competition with the positive amount.

Scheme 6 Collaboration between networks

Collaboration between networks

The enrollment ("L'enrolement") establishes the division of roles, mechanisms of cooperation, hierarchy, decision, execution, control, sanctions, etc.

Mobility of actors encompasses the set in motion of the network. It establishes an actor "port parol" which will speak for the network, the transfer operators are put into action, the collaboration with other networks is done, is ensured in a word "the dynamics of socio-nature."[4] The networks involved in global competition depend largely on their objectives. Thus we can distinguish:

- networks that are preparing technological break, in other words, they focus on specific steps of educational research - Invention - developing and following initiation of a new type of technology (which characterizes the EU as an invention at the paradigm level.[5]

- innovative transfer network having as objective the broadcast of an invention aimed to "break." Compared to the first type, these networks have as "pivot" institutions of acquisition from the base actors of the first type (research and education units) and further execution of process: enterprises, transfer operators, incubators, spin-off, start-ups. Now invention passes into innovation. If the first type of network breakdown is based on professions, it has the "figures" central development professions. These networks are keys to global competitive plan. Analyzing innovation processes, the EU has formulated a paradox expresses precisely, difficult to transfer research results and inventions in general practice throughout the company. Thus, "although the EU is a major force in research, often at the forefront of science, it is deficient in transferring science results in innovation and economic performance.[6] The deficit of transfer involves weight loss of generality inventions especially among SMEs. Because in the whole EU, these SMEs have accounted for 99.7% of the total number of enterprises, mass uptake by SMEs' inventions lead directly to inefficiency of research efforts.

- transfer "best practice" networks ("the best practices") participating in the innovative process by providing a global market presence at the top level. These networks prevent the establishment of a gap than most developed countries and innovative.

- networks of strategic skills are characteristic of the competitive participation of all actors, each bringing their specific contribution to the competitive advantages available

- networks "forum" of development include units having different experiences in making innovations and aim to achieve a series of debates (based on studies in the network) in order to clarify an issue.

- networks' collection structure ("structure de recueil") relating to circulating intermediaries (reference materials, sample experimental animals, substances, protocols, etc.) or intermediate uncirculated (databases, equipment, appliances for data, laboratory experimentation bases, libraries, etc..) to be used jointly by the actors.

The interconnection of networks ("network of networks") brings major changes in the competitive global markets. It is created on this line, true "partnerships of ideas 'global' composed of companies that "sell their creative ideas on higher value on the market (... ) selling expertise on information technology (...). Many of these partnerships have ideas as many employees and earn as much money as traditional corporations that produce tangible objects."[7]

The competition involving these networks is different from the traditional, reflecting the direct effects of transition to the knowledge driven economy. Instead of enterprises equipped with advanced technology, these networks are endowed with a "good" specific: people holders ("in their head") the ability to "solve the problems, identifying and brokering strategies that demonstrate key people."[8] The effects in terms of economic theory are relevant. Traditional economic theory considers that as a resource is consumed, its price increases, buyers start looking for cheaper replacement resources, which would reduce profits. On the other hand, knowledge resource has some very special features to competitive "classic" processes.

Daniel Bell highlighted a fact of great importance. A commodity (a garment, a lathe, a building etc.) extent their uses wear and reduce their value. A "good cognitive" (ideas, theories, patents, inventions, explanations, etc.), as it is used more for many actors, in numerous cases over a longer period, gains a greater societal recognition, prestige stable and therefore, will have a higher value. The profit for using the knowledge resource increase, use not reduced availability. Such a situation of changing strategies for using knowledge in the processes of competition, created, as we showed elsewhere, dilemma: to publish or make a secret of new knowledge?

In the heterogeneous cooperation networks, the evaluation of the capital with each participating player has an essential role. While it is relatively easy to assess the value of material goods, the problem is complicated when it is required to define economic contribution of those who produce and use knowledge and prepare specialists.

There is a problem with what is called "tacit knowledge." When competing demands, companies acquire new technology, etc. takes another organization. In the knowledge case the situation changes radically. The competition on the knowledge ground cannot be achieved, simply by purchasing knowledge. The "knowledge" appeared in books, magazines, lectures, etc. embodied in a theory ("outsourced knowledge") is a knowledge only potentially, it cannot play any practical role. To become a factor of change, the knowledge must be assimilated by people, to become a generator component of human behavior, it must be turned into motivation, aspiration, assimilated experience, decision element etc.

Tacit knowledge ("from the human mind") is all that man has accumulated during his life, based on family experience, of what he learned at school, which resulted in work experience in social relations with friends, etc. This knowledge cannot be separated from its owner. The one who wants to get this resource must recruit men who possess and motivate time to use it. Who purchases a commodity or a car can use them as he wants. The employer who hires a specialist cannot force him to work with whole of his capabilities. People must be motivated, according to their ideas, to use the tacit knowledge they possess. Becoming the main resource, knowledge involves actually the becoming of specialized personnel as the central resource.

"Postindustrial society's main resource is its scientific staff'[9] becoming an expanding social group. "Professional class, as I define it, consists of four states ("estates"): scientific, technological, administrative, and cultural."[10] As such, the competition in new global markets is a competition for staff possession, forming "knowledge class."[11] The great advantage of heterogeneous networks of cooperation is precisely in their ability to attract various professional groups of this class in different countries and to restore flow and unity of the terrible knowledge that the current division of labor has fragmentizing it.

It is necessary to achieve dynamic market knowledge, to correlate the human resources research to maintain the ability to innovate. "Knowledge flows must be supported, both at the interface between science and industry and the industry (...). A dynamic market for knowledge depends on stimulating the supply of new knowledge and adapted to business needs."[12]

Innovation depends on the quality of human resources, its ability to absorb knowledge and turn it into action. "Innovation requires constant adaptation of knowledge, learning and relearning, a flexible labor market and individual mobility to accelerate the flow of knowledge between countries and sectors."[13] Networks have the great advantage of their different structure includes schools, qualification, professional training in general. This great potential advantage is not always turned into a real one and due to shortcomings in education.

  • [1] to promote "corporate governance" (Joined-up Policy-making, in Innovation and Technology Transfer, European Commission Luxembourg, 2003, No.5, 6), "corporate citizenship," "corporate universities," "corporate values" (Kiyoshi, Yamanchi (1993), "An Approach to New Corporate Values." In Future of Industry in the Global Context, Vol. FOP 359, Brussels, 290; "corporate control" ("Worker Participation and Restructuring," Focus, 2005, no. 4, 7)
  • [2] Vinck D., op. cit., 73. Ibid., 75.
  • [3] Callon, Mour B. (1981), "Unscrewing the Big Leviathan: How Actors Macro-Structure Reality and how Sociologists Help Them To Do so." In Advances in Social Theory and Methodology. Knorr Cetina K, and A. Ciocourel (eds.), London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  • [4] Callon M. Réseau, C. (1991), Technico-économique et irréversibilité en économie. Paris, L'Ecole des Etudes des Sciences Sociales.
  • [5] *** (1998), Report: Innovative and Sustainable Cities, Dublin, 2.
  • [6] *** (2003), "Helping Companies to Reinvent Themselves," Euroabstracts, European Commission, Brussels, 2003, n.3, 10
  • [7] Reich, Robert, op. cit, 117.
  • [8] Ibid., 97
  • [9] Bell, Daniel, op. cit, 221
  • [10] Ibid., 375.
  • [11] Ibid., 228.
  • [12] *** (2004), Innovate for a competitive Europe, FOP, Commission of the European Communities, Luxemburg, 9.
  • [13] Ibid., 16.
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >