Developing knowledge-sharing innovative networks
Each phase is characterized by different activities. Table 5 describes the characteristics of the various phases in the development of a knowledge-intensive network where Toyota was the leading partner and sub-contractor (Dyer & Nobeoka, 2000).
The process is illustrated with a series of figures, see figure 9.
Table 5. The Toyota Network: The characteristics of the different phases.
|Growth and maturation
• A large network with leading actor as hub.
• Bilateral relations with leading actor.
• Weak ties among most members.
• Many structural gaps.
• Large network and many networks in the network
• Multilateral relations
• Strong ties in embedded networks and with leading actor
• Few structural gaps
|• Explicit knowledge
|• Explicit and tacit knowledge
|• Show commitment to the leading actor
|• Acquire valuable knowledge, innovation, self-supporting system
Figure 9.1 illustrates the starting point as a fragmented group of businesses with little contact between the businesses and no tradition for collaboration. In the formative phase, a central force (figure 9.2), for example a business of some importance, may take the initiative to develop a network.
Initially, market participants often have bilateral relations with the central force but few multilateral contacts. As the network activities get going, multilateral contacts will develop (figure 9.3) and the initiator may decrease their own role in the network and start acting like a network participant on an equal footing.