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Prevailing national networks: an obstacle to European interaction?

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European integration is expected to result in international industrial networks, facilitating information and technology exchange, and improvements in efficiency and effectiveness. Within many industries in Western Europe, however, companies still operate mainly in their home markets, e.g., the food industry. We argue that substantial obstacles to increasing industrial co-ordination and the diffusion of innovations within Europe may exist in industries dominated by concentrated national sub-networks. Theoretically, this argument is derived from a network and resource dependence perspective and illustrated by a case study of the introduction of a new decision aid in the Swedish food industry. Here, it is concluded that conflicting interests among the actors created inertia, and that development was not controlled by actors operating internationally, i.e. multinational manufacturers, but by retailers and wholesalers holding strong national network positions.
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Keywords: EUROPEAN INTEGRATION; INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY; INTER-FIRM NETWORKS; SWEDISH FOOD INDUSTRY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1997-01-01

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