Beata Barczak, Guest Editor, Cracow University of Economics, Poland

Tomasz Kafel, Guest Editor, Cracow University of Economics, Poland

Pierpaolo Magliocca, Guest Editor, Università di Foggia, Italy

In today's changing competitive environment, the traditional markets and hierarchical organizations of enterprises are partly replaced by inter-organizational networks (Achrol & Kotler, 1999; Gulati, Nohria, & Zaheer, 2000; Håkansson & Ford, 2002; Möller & Halinen, 1999; Ring & Van de Ven, 1992). Inter-organizational networks have become a way of describing a new reality created by complex social, economic and technological changes. The main reason for creating inter-organizational networks is the development of the global economy, which influences changes in communication, competition and cooperation between various institutions, market entities, and individuals (Barczak, 2016). The accelerator in this process is the technological factors which form the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0).

Along with the development of the network concept, the so-called network approach was developed, which emphasizes the importance of a company's contacts with the environment, forming an extensive network of connections. A characteristic feature of a network approach is the adoption of a network metaphor, which is suitable for the analysis of any organization - because organizations have multiple interactions with the environment. The network approach, therefore, determines a way of describing and analyzing reality (organizations, institutions, phenomena).

Modern research indicates a wide range of possibilities for exploring a network approach in the field of strategic management. The shift towards increasingly networked business environments raises the question of whether current strategic management theories still offer the right picture of business strategy. Traditional theories of strategic management place great emphasis on gathering and controlling resources within one company. However, the adoption of a network perspective points to the need to establish external relationships in order to gain access to resources (Tikkanen & Halinen, 2003; Mintzberg & Lampel, 1999). The logic of strategy based on a traditional approach is no longer applicable in a reality where organizations are increasingly linked and networked. These organizations compete and cooperate at the same time, they are forced to constantly reorganize their resources, and their boundaries are blurred. This is reflected in the increasingly accepted economic practice paradigm of the network economy or the economy of sharing. Today, we are even talking about a network society (Castells, 2010).

The most frequently used theoretical bases in the research of networks in strategic management are theories of embedding, resource, dependence on resources, social capital and industrial networks. It is worth noting that these theories can be used for both emergent and intentional networks (Światowiec-Szczepańska & Kawa, 2018). Literature analysis reveals that only a few researchers, mainly from two research areas (1) IMP industrial network theory (Håkansson & Snehota 1989; 1995; Johansson & Mattsson, 1992) and (2) strategic network research (Czakon, 2012; 2016; Gulati, Nohria, & Zaheer, 2000; Jarillo, 1988; Niemczyk, 2013; Wynstra, 1994), address the issue of strategic perspective in inter-organizational networks. The trend towards linking the idea of network and strategic management is, therefore, still emerging and rather amorphous.

The aim of this publication is to present new, emerging trends and research concepts concerning the application of a network approach in strategic management. The authors also want to discover the strategic success factors of organizational networks and define the strategies for strengthening the competitive position of the network. We invite all authors involved in the analysis of such trends and challenges to participate in this publication.

The proposed research topics may include, among other things:

  • new research concepts and approaches in strategic management from a network approach perspective,
  • the logic of network strategy, its features, typology,
  • strategy of network participants from the perspective of network relations,
  • the relationship between the strategy at network level and the strategy of the network member,
  • the process of formulating and implementing network strategies,
  • empirical studies on the implementation of network strategies, evaluation of the effects of network strategies,
  • research on inter-organizational relations in the process of strategy implementation,
  • strategic success factors of organizational networks,
  • the importance of intangible assets, co-creation of values and relations between organizations in the logic of network strategies,
  • the impact of different types of network strategies on the achievement of individual and collective benefits from network collaboration.

We hope that the problems presented will enrich and develop the network theory and research on a network approach in strategic management, as well as inspire other researchers and management practitioners.

Submission guidelines:
Submission deadline: 30 March 2021
Papers reviewed: 30 May 2021
Revised papers reviewed: 30 August 2021
Final versions of papers delivered: 30 September 2021
Papers published: 2021/2022

Paper submission
Papers should be submitted to JEMI before the end of 30th March 2021 at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the Guest Editor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. The papers will undergo a double-blind review. Submissions must be in English, should be 8000 words or more, and follow the submission requirements posted on the JEMI website at


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