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Abstract – The presentation will draw on Jens’s research work with EDF’s Hinkley Point C (HPC), a £20bn nuclear power plant new build project, to answer the question of why inter-organisational networks are vital for the delivery of large infrastructure projects. Defining inter-organizational networks as a set of three or more organisations connected to facilitate the achievement of a collective outcome, the literature has focused on serendipitous and self-evolving networks and only recently begun to examine the role of a central hub (also known as network orchestrator) in designing and developing inter-organisational networks.

In this emerging literature on network orchestration, scholars have called for the development of more understanding of intentional governance of inter-organisational networks. The presentation will focus on how a network orchestrator sets up governance arrangements at the outset to design inter-organisational networks for the delivery of a large infrastructure project.

These inter-organisational networks are vital for delivering services into a £20 billion nuclear power plant new build project in the UK. We conducted in-depth interviews with managers at multiple levels and across organisations (i.e., both network orchestrator and network members), and analysed rich archival and secondary data to develop an understanding of the governance of ex-ante and ex-post activities. Data were further complemented by three site visits to the project and  observations of key meetings.

Our preliminary findings show that task complexity drives key governance decisions by the network orchestrator. While networks delivering less-complex tasks are governed by multiple network members (shared governance), networks delivering more-complex tasks are governed by a single network member (lead-organisation governance). Furthermore, network performance is linked to the degree of deliberate coordination of network activities by the network orchestrator.

Bio – 

Jens is the HPC Chair in Supply Chain Innovation and the Director of the HPC Supply Chain Innovation Lab (www.supplychainlab.org) at the School of Management, University of Bath, UK. The HPC Supply Chain Innovation Lab is an exciting partnership between the University of Bath and EDF, one of the largest electric utility companies in the world. The partnership seeks to advance practice, policy and science with regards to setting up and managing complex supply networks.

Individual and collaborative research activities have emphasised a research focus on long-term inter-organisational relationship management across public and private organisations. Within this agenda, significant strands of research explore: (i) the interplay of contractual and relational governance mechanisms; (ii) procuring and managing complex capital projects such as public-private partnerships; (iii) the dark side of relationships such as conflicts, trust breaches and opportunism; and (iv) sustainable supply chain management.

His research is multidisciplinary, drawing theoretical inspiration and methodological support from operations management, economics, strategy, innovation management, healthcare and policy management. The interdisciplinary nature of his research has resulted in publications in not only core operations and supply management journals, but also publications in leading general management, industrial marketing, policy and health management outlets (for a full research profile, please visit the following website: www.bath.academia.edu/JensRoehrich).

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