Utilizing theories on social capital, business networks, social networks and relationship value, we explore the aspects that provide specific value in relationships with different actors in the software industry. The motive for the study is the assumption that some relationships are regarded as more important than others, and companies strive to focus on fewer relationships with greater outcomes. The study is guided by the premise that social capital is a foundation for relationship value, and its identified elements differ among relationships. We take the perspective of software companies and classify their relationships with business partners into three distinctive types according to their function in the value creation process. The findings of our empirical analysis, based on a qualitative case study of eight software SMEs indicate that the aspects of social capital, like the sources of relationship value, vary systematically by the types of relationships. Thus, we are able to provide some theoretical and managerial implications on the management of small- and medium-sized companies.

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Keywords Networks, Relationship value, Social capital
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.indmarman.2008.04.003
Journal Industrial Marketing Management
Westerlund, M, & Svahn, S. (Senja). (2008). A relationship value perspective of social capital in networks of software SMEs. Industrial Marketing Management, 37(5), 492–501. doi:10.1016/j.indmarman.2008.04.003