When co-opetition becomes collusion: towards a new understanding of "dark" and "shadow" industrial networks
- Social Sciences, Students
The prevailing understanding of collusive B2B networks is primarily based on the theories of industrial economists and organizational criminologists. “Successful” collusive industrial networks (such as price-fixing cartels) have been seen to endure due to formal managerial structures of coordination and control. In this paper, we seek to transcend and challenge these illegal forms of co-opetition by drawing on evidence from an in-depth examination of four price-fixing cartels that were facilitated chiefly by marketers. Our contribution introduces the notion of “shadow networks” and “dark networks” to illustrate the types of collusive network forms that may exist. In addition, this allows us to build a deeper understanding of collusive network forms and related inter-firm interaction for an industrial marketing audience. Further, we consider the importance of the two forms of collusive inter-firm networks uncovered where marketers have attempted to render these secret from antitrust agencies, introducing a relatively new line of inquiry to the industrial marketing literature.