Annachiara Longoni, Director of the Business Network Dynamics (BuNeD) research group, talks about the group's projects, recent activities and future plans. EK: What is the ultimate goal of the Institute for Business Network Dynamics research group? Annachiara Longoni: The ultimate goal of BUNED is to develop and share knowledge about how networks of organizations interact to exchange goods and knowledge in order to deliver value to end customers. Since the socio-economic environment is rapidly evolving, organizations are increasingly outsourcing non-value-added activities as well as some of their value-added activities. When they lack the necessary knowledge or skills to address customer needs effectively and efficiently, they engage with physical and virtual networks of partners that can supply these resources. We investigate opportunities and barriers to operating in these sorts of complex and dynamic business networks. Understanding how to design, manage and coordinate such networks is now a key competence for business continuity. How is your group contributing to the improvement of business networks and how organizations manage them? Our research brings together several of ESADE's areas of expertise, as we are an inter-disciplinary group of researchers from the fields of operations, supply chain management, information technology and quantitative methods. This inter-disciplinary perspective allows us to investigate business network dynamics, taking both a managerial and infrastructural perspective, and to use a wide set of methodologies ranging from case studies and surveys to experiments and modeling. Specifically, we consider business networks to be challenged by three main issues that constitute our main streams of research. First, we want to understand how supply chain coordination and collaboration take place in such complex and dynamic networks as well as the (mis)fit with different business environments. Second, the environmental and social sustainability of such networks is often questioned and placed under public scrutiny. Thus, we study how structural and relational characteristics of such networks affect sustainability and investigate what supply chain management strategies allow the adoption of sustainable practices in the network. Third, digital infrastructures and platforms support the functioning of these business networks. We study the socio-technical processes by which these infrastructures and platforms are designed, extended, managed and governed as well as their effects on business networks. Our inter-disciplinary perspective allows us to investigate business network dynamics, taking both a managerial and infrastructural perspectiveWhat are your plans for this academic year? As a research group at ESADE, our main goals are to share knowledge with the academic and professional communities and foster knowledge development. Concerning knowledge sharing, from one side we plan to maintain a productive pipeline of publications in academic journals in the area of operations management and information systems; on the other side we plan to translate our academic publications into practitioner-oriented formats such as videos and short articles to be shared through ESADE's social networks, the research group's website and the media. Concerning knowledge development, we are planning to expand our research group with new MRes and PhD students. We also intend to keep cultivating our international collaborations by organizing international research seminars and workshops (for example, at ESADE we are running a publishing workshop in collaboration with the European Operations Management Association to support young researchers). How will you bridge the gap between research and practice? We address this gap by taking an empirical perspective in our studies and collaborating with for-profit and not-for profit companies in order to understand the challenges they face in managing their business networks.

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"Understanding how to design and manage dynamic business networks is a key competence"

06/2018

Annachiara Longoni, Director of the Business Network Dynamics (BuNeD) research group, talks about the group's projects, recent activities and future plans.


EK: What is the ultimate goal of the Institute for Business Network Dynamics research group?


Annachiara Longoni: The ultimate goal of BUNED is to develop and share knowledge about how networks of organizations interact to exchange goods and knowledge in order to deliver value to end customers. Since the socio-economic environment is rapidly evolving, organizations are increasingly outsourcing non-value-added activities as well as some of their value-added activities. When they lack the necessary knowledge or skills to address customer needs effectively and efficiently, they engage with physical and virtual networks of partners that can supply these resources. We investigate opportunities and barriers to operating in these sorts of complex and dynamic business networks. Understanding how to design, manage and coordinate such networks is now a key competence for business continuity.


How is your group contributing to the improvement of business networks and how organizations manage them?


Our research brings together several of ESADE's areas of expertise, as we are an inter-disciplinary group of researchers from the fields of operations, supply chain management, information technology and quantitative methods. 


This inter-disciplinary perspective allows us to investigate business network dynamics, taking both a managerial and infrastructural perspective, and to use a wide set of methodologies ranging from case studies and surveys to experiments and modeling. Specifically, we consider business networks to be challenged by three main issues that constitute our main streams of research. First, we want to understand how supply chain coordination and collaboration take place in such complex and dynamic networks as well as the (mis)fit with different business environments. 


Second, the environmental and social sustainability of such networks is often questioned and placed under public scrutiny. Thus, we study how structural and relational characteristics of such networks affect sustainability and investigate what supply chain management strategies allow the adoption of sustainable practices in the network. Third, digital infrastructures and platforms support the functioning of these business networks. We study the socio-technical processes by which these infrastructures and platforms are designed, extended, managed and governed as well as their effects on business networks.


Our inter-disciplinary perspective allows us to investigate business network dynamics, taking both a managerial and infrastructural perspective


What are your plans for this academic year?


As a research group at ESADE, our main goals are to share knowledge with the academic and professional communities and foster knowledge development. Concerning knowledge sharing, from one side we plan to maintain a productive pipeline of publications in academic journals in the area of operations management and information systems; on the other side we plan to translate our academic publications into practitioner-oriented formats such as videos and short articles to be shared through ESADE's social networks, the research group's website and the media. Concerning knowledge development, we are planning to expand our research group with new MRes and PhD students. We also intend to keep cultivating our international collaborations by organizing international research seminars and workshops (for example, at ESADE we are running a publishing workshop in collaboration with the European Operations Management Association to support young researchers).


How will you bridge the gap between research and practice?


We address this gap by taking an empirical perspective in our studies and collaborating with for-profit and not-for profit companies in order to understand the challenges they face in managing their business networks.

More Knowledge
A national culture perspective in the efficacy of supply chain integration practices
Wong , Christina W.Y.; Sancha Fernndez, Cristina; Gimnez Thomsen, Cristina
International Journal of Production Economics
N 193, 11/2017, p. 554 - 565
How does uncertainty affect workplace accidents? Exploring the role of information sharing in manufacturing networks
Wiengarten, Frank; Longoni, Annachiara
International Journal of Operations & Production Management
Vol. 38, n 1, 01/2018, p. 295 - 310
Emerging discourse incubator: The roles of institutional complexity and hybridity in social impact supply chain management
Pullman , Madeliene; Longoni, Annachiara; Luzzini , Davide
Journal of Supply Chain Management
Vol. 54, n 2, 04/2018, p. 3 - 20
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