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Developing a framework to evaluate business networks: the case of Ireland's industry-led network initiative

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Business networks have been described as cooperative arrangements between independent business organisations that vary from contractual joint ventures to informal exchanges of information. This collaboration has become recognised as an innovative and efficient tool for organising interdependent activities, with benefits accruing to both firms and the local economy. For a number of years, resources have been devoted to supporting Irish networking policies. One recent example of such support is the Irish government's target of €20 million per annum for five years to support the creation of enterprise-led networks. It is imperative that a clear rationale for such interventions is established, as the opportunity cost of public funds is high. This article, therefore, develops an evaluation framework for such networking interventions. This framework will facilitate effective programme planning, implementation and evaluation. It will potentially show how a chain of cause-and-effect at both micro and macro-levels for networking interventions can be established.
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Keywords: business networks; evaluation; logic model

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Graduate Centre of Business, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Ireland 2: Department of Economics, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Ireland 3: Economics and Strategy Group, Aston Business School, Aston University, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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