The constitution of networks
The idea of a constitution of networks may be a useful addition to our ways of understanding what happens within the business landscape. We describe a constitution of networks as a system of values, norms, rules and other conventions that are shared by actors in business networks. Whether by intention or not, the constitution of networks provides a framework within which interaction among actors takes place. We argue that companies invest in the selection and replication of interaction practices that evolve over time as customs or common use. This involves interaction aimed at developing or accessing resources for future use in the relationships between actors. In this way, the constitution of networks circumscribes the actors' appreciations and expectations about how they and others should conduct business.
This study is based on empirical research conducted between 2002 and 2005 in business networks of consumer goods in the United Kingdom. Significant actors include multinational consumer goods companies, large grocery retailers, consumers and public authorities.