Inter-firm networks are a traditional and yet modern organisational form. In practice they appear as strategic alliances, regional and global networks, joint ventures, value-adding partnerships, and consortia. The Research Group aims at relating theoretical and empirical research on inter-firm networks. The focus of theoretical research is to develop a theory of inter-firm networking which is based upon the structuration theory of Anthony Giddens and which informs management practice as much as empirical research. Empirical research is oriented on the genesis und management of inter-firm networks, aiming to study their importance for economic performance and technological development.
Recent research activities focus on building a managerial concept of ”reflexive network development“, which relates the strategic conduct of firms in networks to the specific conditions of organisational fields, such as regions and industries. Special attention is paid to the impact of historical conditions on ongoing processes, for example on the development of organisational and technological paths. At the moment, this concept is being elaborated for the fields of the media industry and optical technologies.