Understanding types of organizational networking behaviors in the UK manufacturing sector

Sabrina C. Thornton, Stephan C. Henneberg, Peter Naudé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)


This research is aimed at understanding firms' different types of 'networking behaviors', i.e., how and why firms affect their strategic network position by activities/routines/practices aimed not just at their business partners, but beyond such direct relationships. Thus, we adopt a network perspective to examine how firms exploit their webs of direct and indirect business relationships in order to assess and embrace the potential opportunities and constraints in the network. Based on the industrial network approach (INA), this exploratory research specifically focuses on networking behaviors in the UK manufacturing sector. Thirty-one semi-structured interviews with executive managers from fifteen firms were conducted. We identify four types of organizational networking behaviors by the way in which firms utilize their web of relationships to achieve certain goals. By using the concept of networking behaviors based on the INA as well as the strong-and-weak-tie argument in economic sociology, purposeful networking behaviors can be categorized into the following: information acquisition, opportunity enabling, strong-tie resource mobilization and weak-tie resource mobilization. These four 'types' of organizational networking behaviors provide a deeper understanding of how firms operating in business-to-business exchanges relate to and exploit their webs of direct and indirect relationships, taking into consideration the embeddedness and interconnectedness of the network context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1154-1166
Number of pages13
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


Cite this