Rhizomic Network Analysis: Toward a Better Understanding of Knowledge Dynamics of Innovation in Business Networks

Rhizomic Network Analysis: Toward a Better Understanding of Knowledge Dynamics of Innovation in Business Networks

Alexandra Steinberg (Ecole de Management—Lyon, France)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-901-4.ch012
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Abstract

There is a general consensus that networks and community interaction provide a critical mechanism for innovation. Of recent years, we have seen a growth of interest in the role of social networks, partly fuelled by the fact that the contemporary business world has become more dynamic, complex, and global. Today an increasing number of people work in geographically dispersed networks and across organisational boundaries. With this comes the need to re-think the ways in which innovation emerges across locations, enterprises, and geographies and consequentially, how this can be analysed. However, methods for the analysis of social networks have yet to better understand knowledge dynamics of innovation. It is argued for the need to (1) switch the unit of analysis from individuals’ ideas to social construction of knowledge and (2) use the Deleuzo-Guattarian rhizomic view on networks to reveal not only the dynamics of meaning creation, but also those of meaning disruption, both essential conditions for the emergence of new concepts. A new approach, rhizomic network analysis (RNA) is explored, which aims to move analysis beyond mere description of relationship structures towards enabling the differentiation of the type of knowledge dynamics emergent. An example of an entrepreneurial business network is used to illustrate this approach.

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