and Performance in Food Chains and Networks
Jacques Trienekens (Wageningen University)
The netchain approach views companies as embedded in a complex of
horizontal, vertical and business support relationships with other companies
and other organizations supporting inputs and services (such as advisory
services, credit facilitators). The social network approach adds the
social-cultural and institutional business environment to the netchain
We welcome studies where horizontal
and vertical perspectives are integrated in a social network approach.
Specific topics of interest for this track are (but do not exclude other
capital and business performance in food chains and networks.
The embeddeness of food chain actors in a network of social relationships
can provide them with the social capital to strengthen their position in the
chain. Since the 1990s, social capital theory has become an important branch
within the social network approach. Network relations may enhance the
“social capital” of a company, by making it feasible to get easier access to
information, technical know-how and financial support and by encouraging
knowledge transfer between network partners, thereby reducing transaction
costs and improving access to markets. Social capital has been studied
extensively in both developed as well as developing country business
environments and its value is strongly related to the social-cultural and
institutional environment of the food chain/network. Contributions including
business environment relationships are especially welcomed for this topic.
(2) Trust and
reputation in food chains and networks.
According to social network theory, relationships are not only shaped by
economic considerations; other concepts like trust, reputation and power
also have key impact on the structure and duration of intercompany
relationships. Trust and reputation may play an important role in both
horizontal and vertical relationships in food chains and networks. Trust is
dependent on the duration of a relationship, consistency of exchanges
between parties and (economic and social) reputation. Trust and reputation
can replace more formalized governance mechanisms and positively impact on
collaboration performance in terms of product quality, delivery performance
and costs. Contributions with a network perspective on trust and reputation
are especially welcomed for this topic.
relationships and knowledge exchange in food chains and networks.
Strong ties and network cohesion are important for transfer of complex and
tacit knowledge; whereas weak ties and structural holes which bridge
organizational boundaries are important for the acquisition of diverse, new
knowledge, potentially leading to innovation and innovativeness. Intensity
and frequency of network relationships may positively impact on innovative
power and outcome of food businesses. Acquisition, assimilation,
transformation and exploitation of knowledge external to the company make up
the absorptive and learning capacity of the company. Contributions focusing
on network relationships of food businesses and/or absorptive or learning
capacity and their impact on business performance are especially welcomed
for this topic.