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  Netmodal Management Model

Network's Way of Thinking seen from the Dialectical Perspective

Network approach was developed at the University of Uppsala (Sweden), and is mainly known and taught in Scandinavia. This methodological approach is based on the idea of connecting actors (partakers of the established network) and their activities and resources into structures, which are externally manifested as networks (Haakansson and Johanson, 1986). Although this idea was attractive, particularly in terms of the time when this methodological approach was developed, this methodological approach was not broadly implemented in business practice. In my opinion, the major reason was the lack of adequate management models. Namely, without the developed model a theoretical concept and approach cannot be applied by managers. In either way, this methodological approach and way of thinking acted as an inspiration for my last two semesters of the attending master program in International Business Economics:

  • Implications of Information Technology on the International Strategic Management Process: Virtual Company, (1996)
  • International Netmodal Management Process - Internationalization Strategy for Virtual Software Companies - a Network approach (Master thesis, 1997)

As the end result of my creative efforts, a dynamic (netmodal) model of business reality was developed (1996). Since this model was based on the network approach and the appropriate way of thinking, this approach was not methodologically considered in deeper terms of this notion. This was done in the next project study, during the writing of my master's thesis (1997). Although basic ideas of the network's approach were a dimension above the strategic way of thinking, understood in terms of emphasizing the notion - trust between and among actors [(pro)active and creative participants of the established network], this methodical approach did not manage, as a whole, to get rid of the burden of strategic way of thinking, respectively of the potential conflict-based aspects of this military (strategic) approach. At the same time, the network approach was also based on the assumption that ACTORS can use the developed relationships for the gaining access to the needed RESOURCES and ACTIVITIES. My personal impression is that this methodological approach didn't sufficiently emphasize the role of humane individuals [that means, both as human and humane beings in creative action] as (pro)active and creative participants in the created network (and the established network structure), particularly, during the process of creating a (new) knowledge, but rather the focus was put on the role group-entities in the network. In other words, the (creative) role of "both the human and humane" in the established relationships is not distinctly elaborated, and particularly, not within the established network (you cannot see the wood for trees). Or put it in another way, reconsidering this from the methodological point of view, the network approach remained in "trouble-waters" of the crowd DIA group way of thinking. Regardless of the previously said, this methodological approach authentically reflects the existing state and relations in the business and societal environment, and for this reason, can be used as a turning point towards development of a more (humane) creatively interactive approach, especially, if this were done for the good of all involved humane (individual) actors (partakers).

In my opinion, taking into consideration the afore exposed problems (and the corresponding challenges) in the existing hard (materialistic and physical) living and business environment, co-destiny and coexistence, understood in terms of the emphasizing of the role of co-operation and collaboration of the involved actors within the established network are ideas, which without doubt deserve a particular attention of the creators (of) knowledge. In addition to this, by the network approach was revealed the important role of the established network structures in the existing hard environment, and a kind of "necessity" for (small) actors ("fishes") to find ways TO STRUCTURE themselves into the (geo-politically) formed network structures (Structure Netmodule), which are established within this hard (natiocratic) environment, based on the strategic way of thinking. On the other hand, if the building of network's structures would become the self-purpose of this process of networking, in that case in the long run a difference between the structures would be very difficult to be made, which came into being as a result of the process of structuralization through established relationships by means of the creative interaction of network's participants, compared to those created through various ways of acquisitions and mergers, driven by the geo-strategic way of thinking. In other words, the afore presented point of view that ideas of the network approach and the suitable way of thinking are a dimension above the strategic way of thinking would become very blurred and indistinct (and for this reason, as a such one doomed to disappear from the creative scene).

At the same time, there is an opportunity that these two divergent processes, one of them based on the geo-strategic way of thinking, the second one on the network way of thinking, will in future meet each other, and CONVERGE DIALECTICALLY in a point of both time and space. The major idea behind this process of network's structuralization, understood in terms of building relationships through (pro)active and creative interaction of network's participants is that the mutual trust will gradually occupy its natural place, changing and replacing by this act the existing hard environment, the major feature of which is MISTRUST among actors of the established networks, by a softly, more humane (working, business, living) environment. In other words, there is a hope that the existing hard environment for living, working and doing business will be made more human and humane, at least within the boundaries of the established network's structures. In either way, the existing hard (natiocratic) environment does not leave too many choices to small actors [states, companies, and particularly, not for (humane) individuals (citizens)], if they didn't manage to distinctly positioned and structure themselves within it. To be accelerated, as well as to be made easier this initiated process, international netmodal management (process) put its focus on the humane aspects and issues in the established (global) network.

Recall, the MARKNET (networked marked) is a softer manifestation of the existing hard working, business and living environment, based on the co-existence and co-destiny of actors, emphasizing trust, cooperation and collaboration of involved actors with each other. In other words, all (key-) partakers in this creatively interacting process were networked in the (global) marknet through established networks structures, consisting of numerous actor-nets, fully conscious of the role of relationships in it, as well as to the relationships oriented and by these incentives driven. Such a marknet DIA established network structures of actor-nets should be developed gradually over the passage of time and space through implementation of international netmodal management process in business reality (practice), supported by the (re)developing netmode (strategy), which will also encompass the already observed tendencies towards a form of integration (dialectical synthesis) of the former distinctly separated concepts (mediums) within time and space: Company (group entities) and market (mobbed entity), by putting in focus the thinking of the [humane] creative individuals, both in the role of employee DIA employer, and citizen DIA consumer, and a member of the family DIA a member of a society (or actor-nets) as well. In other words, in the (distant) future, within the created netmodal living DIA working and business environment, a more vital and agile role of humane, creative individuals (citizens) is necessary. For a successful functioning of it in the working, business and living reality, a considerably greater share of responsibility should be transferred to them.

The processes of how activities and resources between and among netmark actors are combined, developed, exchanged, created and (re)used happens in the CREATED NETWORK (marknet DIA actor-net) ATMOSPHERE and ambient. The atmosphere presents cognitive processes of the network actors, social-cultural context, attitude of the actors (individuals) towards each other as well as actors' attitudes to the ethics, risk, co-operation and collaboration, co-existence and co-destiny, their attitude towards dialectical tensions versus conflict, change, as well as their attitudes towards basic network aspects such as trust, power (distribution), (common) interests, knowledge and (inter)dependency, understood in terms of mutual interactivity of these basic aspects of the established network. All these five network aspects are dialectically interrelated with each other, conditioning the existence of each of them, understood in terms of the COMMON INTENTIONALITY of involved partakers. On the bases of these five network aspects was developed by me a netmodal management model, which was focused on the management of them by dialectical encompassing these very complex (inter-)relationships between and among them. Hope, you will observe the DYNAMIC FEATURES of the developed netmodal management model, also without the graphical presentation of it, by simply reading its stated postulates. On the other hand, if not, don't be disappointed because some professors, employed at the universities, missed to (in)see it with their "planked eyes", even during a multimedia presentation.

In either case, the author of this dynamic business model of reality later redirected his creative potential to dialectical aspects and features of the living reality, which resulted with development of the appropriate methodological approach (dialectic interactive approach), acting creatively DIA being transfigured in the meantime in the (role of) creator of knowledge. It is so, in spite of the fact that it might be argued that even in this dynamic model of business reality can be observed some typical dialectical aspects and features, such as the mode of emergence of change within this kind of time and the appropriate spatial creative framework: Old picture of the network DIA a new one DIA a newer picture of it DIA..... Pay also your attention that all this takes place within a creative framework of time and space, as well as that in the figure A2 (Process of Developing NetMode) can be recognized image of the "Dialectical Creative Framework for Orientation in the Eternity of Times DIA Infinity of Spaces" [not mentioning any of these notions of the dialectical conception of TIME DIA SPACE], as well as the ground plan of a pyramid. Keep in mind, all this happens in the year 1996, and with development of the dialectic interactive approach, creator of knowledge BoBan (acting creatively within me) started three years later (1999). In either way, these empirical observations were not supported with the appropriate methodological approach, based on the dialectical way of thinking, because frankly said, in those time DIA space, neither I had idea about it, nor I was aware of the existence of this inner creator, nor I was aware of the feasibility that one day, me in the role of a scriber will develop a dialectical methodological approach by a "little" help of this inner creator DIA Heavenly ones. In spite of all these shortcomings, pay your attention to the depth of exposed ideas and thoughts embedded in this dynamic model of business reality (Netmodal Management Model).

Formulation of the Netmodal Management Model

The starting point in netmodal management model was active and proactive choosing, as well as creating in netmodal terms THE KEY (basic) elements (dialects) in the network, understood in terms of both time and space. In other words, it has to be determined, who are KEY-ACTORS with the suitable KEY-ACTIVITIES and KEY-RESORCES for building the key-relationships in purpose of connecting them into a network: Actor-net. To be established, what is the "KEY-" (essential) in the network is the main task of the top management of the established actor-net. Generally speaking, as an orientation point for the selection of key elements of the actor-net is the idea and awareness that the key relationships deal with deepening the existing knowledge, as well as with a new KNOWLEDGE creation (process netmodule), supported by the restoration of STABILITY within this restructured network [structure netmodule: a desirable longer lasting picture of the network in the future]. According to Easton, it is clear that in networks, relationships and position (“tensions in the relationships are which keep the company in its position”, 1992, page 20) and structure and process are mutually related (“What is clear is that in networks, as in organizations, structure and process are intimately related”, 1992, page 17). As a result of these statements in my opinion (1996) the netmodal management model can be presented by the four interrelated dialectical netmoduls:

1. Relationship Netmodule (relationships --> positions --> structures --> processes) = new and renewed relationships
2. Position Netmodule (positions --> structures --> processes --> new relationships) = new positions
3. Structure Netmodule (structures --> processes --> new relationships --> new positions) = new structures
4. Process Netmodule (processes --> new relationships --> new positions --> new structures) = new processes

to create a new (deeper) knowledge within the marknet
using actor-nets, seen as its dynamic "big picture" in time and space,
by means of a further building new (renewed) relationships .... new positions .... new structure of the network ..., and so on in time and space,
continually making and supporting changes, as well as exploiting these changes made.

In this graphical illustration was presented the developed "Netmodal Management Model":

The basic assumptions of model are as it follows:

  • The model is determined by the whole network (totality of its elements: Re, Po, St, Pr), as well as by the created atmosphere and the working ambience in it, encompassed within this span of time and space
  • The current established (picture of the) network, represented through Relationships within it, is created on the basis of initiated processes {actors develop relationships with each other through inter-exchange of processes [of providing necessary resources, (by sharing knowledge) for (faster) organising the needed activities] (Haakansson and Johanson)}
  • The current established (picture of the) network, represented with the achieved Positions in it, is determined by the established relationships [actors are goal oriented, trying to improve the current position in the network as well as to increase control of the network (Haakansson and Johanson)]
  • The current established (picture of the) network, manifested in the form of created Structures, includes positional attributes and aspects [the network of positions determines the formal network structure]
  • The established (picture of the) network, represented in the form of initiated Process (of knowledge creation) in it, is determined by structural attributes and aspects.

Netmode Development Process

The purpose of this is to see whether these current established networks of the constituent actor-nets make sense as the consistent, coherent, and composite picture of the desired direction of the business of the included actors, the grand design of which should be encompassed by the appropriate netmode: The netmodal understanding of the notion strategy (see the following figure). Whereas net-modules were being preoccupied by management of the four basic aspects of network (trust, power-distribution, (common) interests and knowledge) by strenghtening established relationships, as well as solving positional, structural and processual issues, which actually enables that the international netmodal management process is easier understood and implemented by actors (humane individuals) in business and societal reality, the netmode was dealing with the ALL aspects of the established network (net-market). Especially, with the fifth aspect of network: (Inter)Dependency DIA interactivity of the involved partakers, understood in terms of intentionality of these actors. Due to the focus of network approach on these network aspects, interconnected with the totality of relationships among involved actors during their building and maintaining, as well as with suitably established positions, structures and initiated processes in the network, these four netmoduls, over the passage of time and space, have to be harmonised and synchronised with each other, with the developing netmode, as well as with the business reality (“Big Picture”). In other words, Relationship netmodule, Position netmodule, Structure netmodule and Process netmodule should provide that the continually developing netmode is in line with the business reality. From these reasons, the fundamentes of the developed netmodal management model are:

  • Process of Short-term and Long-term Development and Dynamisation: Intentionally making continuous changes in the (Global) network together with other actors through the created Actor-nets using Relationship net-module and Process net-module

  • Process of Short-term and Long-term Stabilization of the Network: Stabilization of the network by means of Position net-module and Structure net-module in order to be exploited (and supported) the made changes, perceived as a business opportunity.

  • Process of (continual) Short-term and Long-term Harmonization of the Network: The time horizons of Net-modules have to be continually harmonized (Relationship net-module ---> Process net--module, Position net-module ---> Structure net-module, as well as any short-long term combination of them)

  • Process of (continual) Synchronization of the initiated Dynamisation versus Stabilization of the Network (Short-term and Long-term): Because of the fact that dynamisation and stabilization are dialectical processes, contrasting and contradicting each other, there is a need for their synchronization as well: Relationship net-module ---> Position net-module and Structure net-module ---> Process net-module. The purpose of this is to be provided conditions for changes made by creation of knowlege (dynamics) and stability to coexist.

In other words, in which order creative actions and activities should be accomplished? Which actors and resources are needed for a successful completion (termination) of the project (task), and who will provide them? Are the established relationships, positions, structures and processes compatible with the developing netmode of involved actors (actor-nets), and with the created picture of the business reality (Great versus Big Picture) as well? And if not, what issues need to be resolved to bring these four net-modules back into harmony with each other as the netmode develops? International netmodal management process also should support the processes individualisation and humanization of employees during developing netmode in this already perceived tendency towards some kind of integration these previously clearly separated and distinguished concepts: Company and Market. The first implication of this integration is a clear trend and tendency among actors (both humane individuals and group entities), which emphasizes cooperation and collaboration instead of the competition within the established network of markets (MARKNET), even among competitors. Here, established relationships DIA established networks of actor-nets are both a natural consequence and response to this trend (tendency). As in real life, every loss should be offset to be achieved a natural balance. Therefore, it might be argued that the second implication of this integration is a parallel trend that allows in addition to cooperation also the manifestation of "competition" within the established network (actor-net). For example, competition between teams organized around projects (tasks) within the established virtual company.