Abstract

Industry peer networks (IPNs) have been hailed as one of the promising ways for owners of small to medium sized companies to stay abreast of industry trends and develop comradeship at otherwise geographically isolated locations. IPNs are a unique form of “parallel peers” in which the members of the network belong to a sub-segment in a given industry that draws on similar inputs to provide similar goods or services targeted to different sets of customers. These non-competing members gather regularly in small groups (typically 20 or fewer), in an atmosphere of significant trust, to share knowledge, exchange information about industry trends beyond their core markets, conduct peer benchmarking, and discuss issues related to company performance.

Our twin objectives in this research are to show IPNs facilitate business learning among the entrepreneurs and to shed light on how participating in IPN activities positively influence business performance, in terms of implementation of marketing management and leadership practices.

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