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Anne Toppinen (email), Katja Lähtinen, Leena A. Leskinen, Niklas Österman

Network co-operation as a source of competitiveness in medium-sized Finnish sawmills

Toppinen A., Lähtinen K., Leskinen L. A., Österman N. (2011). Network co-operation as a source of competitiveness in medium-sized Finnish sawmills. Silva Fennica vol. 45 no. 4 article id 102. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.102


In the Finnish sawmill industry, inter-firm collaboration has often been brought up as a means of creating a competitive edge in global markets by achieving economies of scale. According to the resource-based view (RBV), a firm can evaluate its current or potential partners by considering firm-level collaboration as a portfolio of complementary strategic resources. The specific focus of the study is on examining the types and forms of sawmill co-operation, how the co-operation emerged and which firm-specific resources are mainly related to co-operation. Based upon this, we can see how the managers of medium-sized sawmills perceive network co-operation as facilitating the achievement of a sustainable competitive advantage. The empirical data for this study were collected by interviewing 16 managers and employees in medium-sized non-integrated sawmills, a joint-venture marketing company and other co-operative partners. The findings of the study show that meaningful and beneficial co-operation partnerships exist in the Finnish sawmilling industry, but the sawmill managers do not perceive this collaboration as a strategic resource. The marketing company was the only firm in this study that relied on its co-operative networks in seeking a sustainable competitive advantage. To make more of co-operative partnerships, the principles of co-operative networking should be understood better in the sawmilling industry in order to know what to expect from co-operation. Furthermore, the managers should have the courage to engage in more extensive co-operation in order for strategic rents to materialize. Since the selection of the right partners is fundamental, further studies could be conducted on the reasons behind failed or terminated co-operative arrangements to gather further empirical knowledge in this subject area.

collaboration; social capital; strategic resources; competitive advantage; business processes

Author Info
  • Toppinen, University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Sciences, P.O. Box 27, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland E-mail anne.toppinen@helsinki.fi (email)
  • Lähtinen, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Joensuu, Finland E-mail kl@nn.fi
  • Leskinen, Rantalankuja 4, Joensuu, Finland E-mail lal@nn.fi
  • Österman, University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Sciences, P.O. Box 27, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland E-mail no@nn.fi

Received 7 March 2011 Accepted 8 July 2011 Published 31 December 2011

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Available at https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.102 | Download PDF

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