Business service networks and their process of emergence: The case of the Health Cluster Portugal

Carla Ramos, Catarina Roseira, Carlos Brito, Stephan C. Henneberg, Peter Naudé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Business services have been receiving increasing attention from academics, practitioners and policy-makers. Despite the growing interest, this field of research suffers from several limitations: it draws mostly on services marketing theory, and it is grounded mostly in monadic and dyadic studies. This paper contributes to the advance of business services research by addressing these limitations with regard to a specific service-related issue. We carry out an interdisciplinary study by integrating among others an industrial network approach (INA) into the services area, and we thus develop the research at a network level by adopting a services network perspective; furthermore, the study is carried out in a business-to-business context by looking into a health cluster: the Health Cluster Portugal. The article addresses one particular aspect of business services networks: their emergence. We propose a conceptual framework that draws on process-based research and integrates theories from other bodies of research, allowing a rich understanding of how a business service network is created. Our findings point to discontinuities along the emergence of such networks, showing that there is an iterative process underlying their formation, with different theories playing a predominant explanatory role at different stages. This paper contributes to the wider body of literature on services research by promoting the integration of the INA and other process-related approaches in the area of business services networks, and also provides practitioners and policy-makers with a structured framework to understand how an intentional 'bottom-up' business service network may be created or orchestrated. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)950-968
Number of pages18
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • Business service network
  • Emergence of networks
  • Health Cluster Portugal
  • Industrial Network Approach


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