Managing in conflict: how actors collaborate in marketing green chemistry

Zhang, Shiming (2016) Managing in conflict: how actors collaborate in marketing green chemistry. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The purpose of this research is to investigate business relationships, by drawing on conflict theories from organization studies and taking a mid-range research perspective to further develop these into industrial marketing research. IMP researchers have examined conflict as a threat to established business relationships and commercial exchanges, drawing on theories and concepts developed in organization studies. I adopt the behavioural approach from organisation studies, and contracts with particularly the socio-psychological approaches relating to the affective emotions of small groups. I find that there is much in common between the definitions of conflict developed by March (1999) and the theories of Jehn and Mannix (2001) on the combination of affective and cognitive ways of undertaking activities in conflicts, as conflict as experienced, emotional, aligned with material entities. These approaches have had a great influence but have not been fully considered in business-to-business research. This thesis aims to investigate how actors manage, and manage in, conflicts, and how their relationships dynamics work within networks. I develop conflict research by drawing on the IMP and Market Studies approaches, which address the pervasive conditions of business activity, encompassing the relationships and resources experienced by actors as events which trigger emotions.

The overall research method chosen for this research is the case study. I identify five cases of relationships from the oil and gas industry’s service sector and examine conflict, its emotional dimensions and actors’ activities in conflicts within these cases in three empirical study chapters. Study 1 examines conflict of interest and resources and conflict as experienced by actors. Study 2 examines conflict from the emotional perspective by investigating a series of events and event-triggered emotions across the five cases of relationships. Study 3 focuses on adaptive activities undertaken in conditions of pervasive conflict, which produce incremental innovation.

I propose an explanation of how actors manage, and manage in, conflict given that they tend to value and maintain relationships beyond individual episodes of exchange. Conflicts are investigated in relationships from a network perspective, showing that actors experienced these while adapting to changes in their business setting (regulation, technology or/and cost), modifying their roles in that network. By identifying conflict with the organizing forms of relationships and networks, the research shows how actors handle conflict by pursuing and combining a number of strategies, distributing the conflict across an enlarged network. By investigating the emotional dimension of conflicts, I find that affective emotion effects relationships and relationship dynamics. Actors transform and resource emotions with material entities, and in this process markets are shaped. Adaptations are part of the normal activities; actors, driven by medium term Chemical Management Service (CMS) contracts and cost pressures, undertake incremental innovation. An incremental innovation model is designed to illustrate the process of incremental innovation that operates for the ‘green chemical’ industry, and guides actors to contain costs through managing portfolios and resources, forecasting and innovation agenda, and reducing uncertainties in networks.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Conflict, IMP, market studies, relationships, innovation, resources, chemistry, oil and gas industry.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Funder's Name: Leverhulme Trust (LEVERHULME)
Supervisor's Name: Finch, Prof. John and Geiger, Prof. Susi
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Dr. Shiming Zhang
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7167
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 May 2016 12:55
Last Modified: 19 May 2016 11:28

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