Managing your Portfolio of Connections

Lawrence, Thomas B., Morse, Eric A. and Fowler, Sally W. (2005) Managing your Portfolio of Connections. MIT Sloan Management Review, 46 (2). pp. 59-65.


For more than a decade, we have observed external business links in a variety of industries. The ideas presented in this article were originally developed over the course of numerous academic studies and consulting engagements. Two sets of studies were particularly important: a 10-year research project on business collaborations that examined the dynamics of interorganizational connections in a wide range of industries and fields, from pharmaceuticals to employment services; and six years of research examining the interorganizational strategies of entrepreneurial startups. In these studies, we independently observed similar changes associated with the increasing use of technology that formed the foundation for the framework presented here.

To develop those concepts in greater depth and test the relationships we were suggesting, we conducted qualitative case studies of three high-tech companies. We interviewed senior managers at each of those organizations to study their industry’s environment, the kinds of exchange relationships that were central to their business and the forms of external connections they employed. The case studies, which are presented in this article to illustrate various concepts, helped validate and refine our framework.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Business Relationships, IT Management, Management Innovation, Networks, Technological Innovation
Subject(s): Strategy; Entrepreneurship & Global business
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2015 13:11
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2016 17:19
Funders: N/A

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