Managing Co-operative Business Networks for Service Co-Creation in Rural Denmark: A Case from the Renewable Energy Sector

Susanne Gretzinger, Birgit Leick

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningpeer review


Networking and being a part of an established business network supports the process of translating new service goods into marketable solutions. This is especially true for the renewable energy sector. Generating energy from wind, water and/or sun takes place where the best geographical and/or climatic conditions are located. This is oftentimes in very rural areas. On these grounds it can be consolidated, that techniques like e. g. deducing energy from windmills offshore, bears chances for rural areas (Farinha et al. 2016; Ferreira, et al. 2012, Porter, 2000).
One of the important sustainable energy industries of Denmark is the offshore windmill industry. With two of the world’s largest global corporation of this industry located in Denmark, the country is among the pioneers of the global industry. Over the last 20 years, the industry has experienced a strong growth and significantly contributed to the Danish economy. The Danish windmill industry is still growing. Exports rose from 45,8 billion DKK in 2013 to 53.5 billion DKK and employment increased from 27.271 in 2013 to 28.676 employees in 2014 (Industriens Fond, 2015). Altogether, the Danish wind energy sector accounts for 3.8 % of Denmark´s total exports in 2013 (DAMVAD, 2014). While the production of windmills is concentrated on large companies, the assembly, maintenance and service of the windmill parks is dominated by SMEs.
Many firms in the Danish wind energy or wind turbine industry are organized in cooperating networks/cluster (Karnøe and Garud, 2012). Karnøe and Garud (2012, p. 734) highlight that those firms are characterized by “a culture for collaboration and interactive learning between producers, suppliers, national regulators and evaluators”. As the next generation of innovation within the wind energy business is expected to take place much more than previously at the organizational level than in purely technological terms, network integration and appropriate governance mechanisms have turned into an important pre-condition for innovation not just in urban but also in rural areas (Leick and Gretzinger, 2015 ).
In the future, the surplus per windmill is expected to only slightly rise compared to total energy output that will rise tremendously owing to an increase in the number of windmills per windmill farm (DAMVAD, 2014). Increasing the number of windmills per farm will increase the demand of service and maintenance. Thus, minimizing technician hours per year and windmill farm is one of the most important and, at the same time, most challenging targets for cooperative networks in order to control for costs (Baron, 2000, Martin et al., 2016, Sarker and Faiz, 2016, Scheu, 2012, Blanco, 2009).

As most of the single SME do not house the resources to offer the whole range of services, which is in need to run e. g. a windmill farm, cooperation among complementing SMES is a key capability in the process of shaping vital capabilities of cooperative networks and rural areas (Martin et al., 2016, Sarker and Faiz, 2016, Scheu, 2012).
The process of shaping cooperative networks around huge players goes oftentimes with resource-dependence asymmetries and risks arising from specific collaborative network settings.
The present paper studies this trade-off, highlighting both the need and the power of moderation and brokerage as appropriate tools for network managers to handle such conflicts and in doing so to support business networks in rural areas (Burt, 2005, Granovetter, 1985, Eklinder-Frick, et al. 2011, 2012, 2014).
Antal sider2
StatusUdgivet - 2017
Begivenhed20th Anniversary Uddevalla Symposium: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Industrial Dynamics in Internationalized Regional Economies - University West, Trollhättan, Sverige
Varighed: 15. jun. 201717. jun. 2017
Konferencens nummer: 20


Konference20th Anniversary Uddevalla Symposium
LokationUniversity West


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