The paper explores the evolution of government-funded strategic networks among Danish firms. It challenges the preoccupation of both policy makers and management scholars with network structures. It proposes that process analysis at the firm level is better suited to elucidate evolutionary network patterns than structural analysis. Based on both quantitative and qualitative data from a population of 104 networks and 557 firms, process analysis demonstrates a crucial move from first generation, artificial, formal networks to second generation, spontaneous, informal networks. Structural analysis, on the other hand, reveals only the discontinuance of the original, government-funded networks. Thus, network success should be measured in terms of competence building, organizational learning and change rather than in terms of longevity and stabillity of network structures.
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Annual International Strategic Management Conference, 1997