Managing Business and Innovation Networks


Special issue of Industrial Marketing Management; Deadline 1 Apr 2016


Call for Papers


Special issue on “Managing business and innovation networks.”

Deadline for submission:  April 1, 2016

Guest Editors:

Kristian Möller, Professor of Marketing (Emeritus), Aalto University School of Business,

Aino Halinen, Vice Dean (Research), Professor of Marketing, Turku School of Economics,


This special issue of IMM will address the creation and management of intentionally designed business and innovation networks.  These so-called strategic networks or value nets are constructed for attaining specific business purposes and goals.


From the mid 1990’s onwards, we have seen a vast increase in various collaborative forms of business-to-business marketing ranging from strategic buyer-supplier partnerships to complex business and innovation networks.  Intentionally designed strategic networks are prevalent in high-tech industries, assembly type manufacturing, and fundamental in the so-called platform businesses, ranging from e-business models like the to mobile services exemplified by the Android platform (see Adner & Kapoor, 2010; Gawer, 2011; Möller & Rajala, 2007).  Networks have also a central role in the creation of solutions and new services (Gebauer, Paiola & Saccani 2013; Jaakkola & Hakanen 2013), as well as in business ecosystems (Autio & Thomas, 2013; Vargo & Lusch, 2011), and in the creation of collaborative innovations (Möller, 2010; Rampersad, Quester & Troshani (2010).

Since the 1998 IMP Conference Special Issue in the Industrial Marketing Management journal (Möller and Halinen, 1999), a significant number of articles on the management of business networks have appeared.  These include several special issues which have addressed some aspect of business network management, for example: “Sense-Making and Management in Business Networks” (IMM, 2010, Naude et al.); “Special Issue on Innovation in Networks” (IMM, 2014, Freytag & Young); “B2B Service Networks and managing creativity in business market relationships” (IMM, 2013, Henneberg et al.). Despite this attention, however, there still exist significant omissions, gaps, and a demand for new openings in our knowledge of business network management.  

Rationale and Objectives for “Managing Business and Innovation Networks”

There is an urgent need for both a consolidation of our current knowledge regarding managing strategic networks and for advancing ambitious yet managerially relevant research in this domain.  The majority of network research has addressed evolutionary networks, not strategic nets (Ritter, Wilkinson, & Johnston, 2004; Möller & Rajala, 2007).  Moreover, current knowledge on network management is fragmented and based to a great extent on individual case studies, overlooking a number of managerially crucial issues, especially on the performance of various types of nets and a process view into network management. The field is still missing a structured base providing managerial suggestions beyond generalities, and researchers are even debating the possibilities of network management.  Without progress in network management, however, the business network research community risks missing its managerial relevance.

This Special Issue seeks to:

·       Systematize knowledge on how to create and manage different types of business and innovation networks.

·       Increase our knowledge of the dynamics of network orchestration; concerning, for example, different phases of network development or different strategic situations, such as radical new business creation versus reconfiguring the value-system of an existing business field.

·       Increase our understanding of the organizational solutions for strategic networks and the network management capabilities involved.

·       Increase our knowledge of how different goals or types of networks influence network organization and management.

·       Improve our understanding of strategic network management as a process and as mastery of network dynamics.

·       Examine how companies are able to manage their operations and roles in several potentially competing networks; that is, address a network portfolio problem. 

·       Increase our knowledge on the performance issues in strategic networks, dimensions and measures for network performance, and performance at the network and member levels.

We are seeking both empirical and theoretical contributions pertaining to the aforementioned issues.  We are open to the application of different theoretical perspectives, if they advance the development of network management theory and praxis. All methodological perspectives are welcome.  Emphasis will be given to the contributions that offer theory-driven and/or empirically-based suggestions for the management of intentionally designed business or innovation networks.

Important date: The deadline for the special issue papers submission is April 1, 2016.


Submission Procedures

To submit a paper please visit the IMM editorial site register as an author and submit the paper as the site will instruct you. When you get to the step in the process that asks you for the type of paper, select SI: Managing Business and Innovation Networks


All queries about the special issue should be sent to the Guest Editors at the following address:

Kristian Möller, Professor of Marketing (Emeritus), Aalto University School of Business,


Aino Halinen, Vice Dean (Research), Professor of Marketing, Turku School of Economics




Adner, R. & Kapoor, R. (2010). Value creation in innovation ecosystems: how the structure of technological interdependence affects firm performance in new technology generations. Strategic Management Journal, 31(3): 306–333.

Autio E., & Thomas, L.D. (2013). Innovation ecosystems. In The Oxford Handbook of Innovation Management, M. Dodgson, D.M. Gann, N. Phillips (eds.), Oxford University Press, 204-228.

Freytag, P., & Young, L. (2014). Introduction to Special Issue on innovations and networks: Innovation of, within, through and by networks. Industrial Marketing Management, 3(43), 361-364.

Gawer, A. (Ed.). (2011). Platforms, markets and innovation. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Gebauer, H., Paiola, M. & Saccani, N. (2013). Characterizing service networks for moving from products to solutions. Industrial Marketing Management, 42 (1): 31-46.

Henneberg, S., Naudé, P., Gruber, T., Houman Andersen, P. & Kragh. H., eds. (2013). B2B Service Networks and Managing creativity in business market relationships. Special Issue in Industrial Marketing Management, 42 (1): 1- 134.

Jaakkola, E. & Hakanen, T. (2013). Value co-creation in solution networks. Industrial Marketing Management, 42 (1): 47-58.

Möller, K. & Halinen, A. (1999).  Business Relationships and Networks: Managerial Challenge of Network Era. Industrial Marketing Management, 28 (5): 413-427.

Möller, K., & Rajala, A. (2007). Rise of strategic nets – New modes of value creation. Industrial Marketing Management, 36: 895-908.

Möller, K. (2010). Sense-making and agenda construction in emerging business networks — How to direct radical innovation. Industrial Marketing Management, 39 (5):361-371.

Henneberg, S. C., Naudé, P., & Mouzas, S. (2010). Sense-making and management in business networks—Some observations, considerations, and a research agenda. Industrial Marketing Management, 39 (3), 355-360.

Rampersad, G., Quester, P. & Troshani, I. (2010). Managing innovation networks: Exploratory evidence from ICT, biotechnology and nanotechnology networks. Industrial Marketing Management, 39 (5): 793-805.

Ritter, T., Wilkinson, I. & Johnston, W. (2004). Managing in complex business networks. Industrial Marketing Management, 33 (3): 175-183.

Vargo, S.L. & Lusch, R.F. (2011).  It’s all B2B…and beyond: Toward a systems perspective of the market. Industrial Marketing Management, 40 (2): 181-187.