Intermediation in Business Networks. A Case Study in the Textile and Clothing Industry
This book deals with the intricate issue of intermediation. Intermediation is a central concept in the marketing channel literature where it is used for analyzing how specific firms - intermediaries - connect producers and users, thus increasing transaction efficiency. However, current changes of business reality in terms of postponement, specialization, customization and outsourcing call for an extended perspective on intermediation. As a supplement to the previous focus on intermediation between actors, this book explores intermediation also in the activity and resource layers of business networks. A qualitative case study in the textile and clothing industry is used to empirically address intermediation, taking its starting point at a Swedish shirt manufacturer, SM. The intermediating challenge for SM is to balance the flexibility requirements on its demand side with the call for stability on its supply side. The analysis shows that each layer - activities, resources and actors - brings its prerequisites and constraints regarding intermediation. Thus, this broadened scope of intermediation contributes to improved understanding of current conditions in business reality.