The purpose of this paper -as a part of a wider research project - is to analyze the concept of production network from a methodological and theoretical viewpoint based on a three-plane perspective. These dimensions are the linkages among agents, the innovation activities, and the social management technology, including work process organization and the social agreement generation model in force. It is an experimentally methodological approach that tries to go from a theoretical conceptualization of the phenomenon to its empirical evaluation. The questions guiding this research are as follows: 9 What are the variables and dimensions to be observed in the analysis of a group of interconnected firms in order to define a production network? Is it a unique definition or, on the contrary, does it involve a range of alternatives? What are the externalities generated by the agents who belong to one network? 9 What is the relationship between the network’s firms’ technological behavior and their organizational counterpart? How are learning processes in the business firms linked to their own training systems? Has the social management technology some differential role in the learning process and in the development of skills? How do knowledge transmission processes manifest themselves within the “network”? 9 What indicators are useful for the empirical identification of the different means of manifestation of the network according to the theoretical viewpoint adopted? How can those indicators be articulated in order to elaborate typologies intended for the identification of “hybrid” models? How can a complex indicator be built in order to show the different levels of circulation of intangible assets, development of learning processes and work process organization? In the first section, the conceptualization of the production “network” used in this paper is discussed. In the second section, most relevant variables and indicators are presented in order to feature the business firms and the network in terms of: a) type, quantity and quality of tangible and intangible exchanges among the agents; b) innovative capacity and learning; c) social management technology. Then we elaborate a typology of networks based on the consideration of the previous parameters. Lastly, in the fourth section, we discuss how the three dimensions interact in the case of Volkswagen and his forty main local suppliers.
|Place of Publication||Frederiksberg|
|Publisher||DRUID - Danish Research Unit for Industrial Dynamics|
|Number of pages||47|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|
|Series||DRUID Working Paper|