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Of the significance of business relationships


  • Filipe J. Sousa

    () (Departamento de Gestão e Economia (DGE), Universidade da Madeira (UMa))

  • Luís M. de Castro

    () (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)


The Industrial Network Theory aims to describe and explain the business relationships and networks in which the focal firm is deeply embedded. One of its major propositions is that business relationships somehow influence, to different extents and over time, the focal firm’s survival. This pertains to the diverse and time-varying significance of business relationships for the focal firm. It has often been implicitly sustained that such significance is strongly related to the role played by business relationships and consequently the relationship outcomes accruing to the focal firm. The logic underlying the relationship significance proposition is outwardly oriented, somewhat overlooking the focal firm’s inside and in particular the conspicuous influence of business relationships on what the focal firm does competently both within and across its vertical boundaries. Arguably, the (predominantly ‘functional’) network-based arguments currently advanced represent a necessary but not sufficient condition for relationship significance. This conceptual paper tentatively suggests that there may be missing a supplementary (essentially internal) explanation supported by Competence-based Theories of the Firm.

Suggested Citation

  • Filipe J. Sousa & Luís M. de Castro, 2006. "Of the significance of business relationships," FEP Working Papers 224, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:224

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Catarina Aroso Monteiro & Aurora A.C. Teixeira, 2006. "Local sustainable mobility management. Are Portuguese municipalities aware?," FEP Working Papers 225, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.

    More about this item


    Industrial Network Theory; relationship significance proposition;

    JEL classification:

    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing

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