Abstract

A popular trend among many firms is to subscribe to strategic networks to improve business outcomes. As these networks often provide promises of renewal and innovation they attract both governmental and private resources. To facilitate resource distribution and joint issues, the networks appoint an administrative function responsible for governance but without authority to interfere with members individual business ideas and procedures. In order to access joint resources a firm needs both to engage in social exchanges with other members as well as believe in the fairness of the appointed administrative function. While apparent, these exchanges are likely complex as the actors not only engage in cooperation but at the same time compete for resources. The present study examines how firm engagement in strategic networks pay-off in terms of innovation performance, and how the interactive influence of two variables which have been suggested as important for effective functioning of organizations – displayed civic virtue and justice of the administrative function – influence this relationship. The hypotheses are based on social exchange logics and arguments from citizenship behavior literature. As such, this study proposes that being a good citizen would together with having a fair system for resource distribution lead to positive returns when engaging in network activities.

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