The Concept of Flexibility of Inter-Organizational Networks: Research Assumptions
Purpose: One of the distinguishing features of the network's efficiency is its flexibility, quite strongly explored on the ground of individual business entities - in the network conditions, it is a set of many unknown factors and mechanisms. The article aims to identify the fundamental distinguishing features of interorganizational networks and define a set of research questions to exemplify them empirically. Design/Methodology/Approach: The achievement of this goal was possible through the subject literature review introducing the design and conduct of in-depth empirical research in the future. Findings: The theoretical research carried out made it possible to identify several research questions, thus showing how complex category the flexibility of interorganizational networks is. The conclusions identified the need to consider environmental influence when studying the flexibility of interorganizational networks, which seems obvious. However, a detailed analysis enabled identifying factors determining the balance of network conditions and network systems, being a novelty in the analyzed topic. Practical Implications: The practical business implications concern mostly the consideration of the possibility of a deliberate impact on the flexibility of interorganizational networks in the result of the development and intentional use of interorganizational network flexibility mechanisms. For many interorganizational networks, this may prove to be an essential condition for the success of both the network and its nodes. Originality/value: This research proposes the grounds for the procedure of researching the flexibility of interorganizational networks, using the analogy to organizational entities, and pointing out the flexibility of the network as one of the four categories of interorganizational network efficiency (next to engagement, exchange, and reciprocity).