Network Process Analysis: An Event Based Approach to Study Business Network Dynamics

Aino Halinen, Jan-Åke Törnroos, Maria Elo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    84 Citations (Scopus)


    To develop business, managers need to understand the dynamic nature of the business networks in which their company operates. Qualitative process research offers a promising methodology to deliver that understanding but does not yet provide elaborate analysis methods applicable to business network research. We therefore introduce an event based analysis strategy developed to study processes in business networks. Employing a longitudinal case on a paper trader's internationalization process in a network context as an experimental arena, we propose three tools for process analysis. First, a research steering wheel that combines both retrospective and real time event analysis; second, an analytical scheme comprising influencing factors, critical events and consequent change; and third, an event trajectory that unfolds process patterns. The proposed strategy offers a viable alternative to social network analysis, network pictures and narrative analysis with which to study network change and dynamics. Elaborating events from a moderate constructivist perspective, it enables the researcher to trace and understand processes beyond mere structural change, and to capture their evolution in a multilayered network context. We evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the methodology and discuss its relevance for research and practice.

    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)1213–1222
    JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • process research
    • Business networks
    • Jan-Åke Törnroos

    Cite this