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The role of cooperation networks and their platforms in serving the economy of rural areas: a monograph


The research subject of this monograph is multi-sided collaborative networks designed to help farmers and other entrepreneurs in rural areas to develop and accelerate the processes of business servitization in collaboration with a wide range of actors and groups. Even though service-driven business models are already used quite often in farming practice, the servitization of rural businesses, in contrast to the servitization of manufacturing, is still poorly studied in the scientific literature. Even fewer studies can be found exploring the benefits of collaboration in accelerating the territorial servitization of the rural regions. This research encourages researchers in rural development to focus on the phenomenon of collaboration and its potential to strengthen the economy of rural areas by implementing an innovative service-driven business model in farming and other rural businesses.

The first part of the research monograph is devoted to the theoretical analysis of the goals and methods of promoting the servitization of the rural regions. The theory of qualitative structures has been chosen as the theoretical basis. It helps to reveal the possibilities of collaboration by the implementation of various servitization strategies of rural regions and the suitability of organizational models and tools of collaborative networks to achieve their strategic goals. The characteristics of servitization of the economic and social systems of rural regions are analyzed in the context of four paradigm innovations related to a different nature of collaboration in the post-industrial economic system: 1) the institutionalized relationships is being replaced by networking; 2) the competition is being replaced by the pursuit of mutualistic symbiosis between all participants in the business ecosystem; 3) the ways of building the relationships in the collaborative network are changing; 4) the market economy is being replaced by the platform economy.

These paradigm innovations are closely related to each other, but each changes a certain dimension of the mental model inherent in the industrial era. Without a clear understanding of them, the rural development policy is becoming inadequate for the realities of the post-industrial development phase, in which all developed countries have been living for less than a decade and (therefore) are unable to take advantage of the new factors for economic development. The second part of the monograph presents the results of empirical research, based on six comparative case studies on organizational models of multi-sided platform-based collaborative networks working for accelerating the servitization of the Lithuanian rural regions. The third part of the monograph presents a comparative analysis of organizational models and instruments of collaboration networks focused on different collaboration strategies. The fourth part of the monograph presents a typology of collaborative networks created according to the qualitative structures approach, focused on the acceleration of economic servitization in rural areas. The last part of the monograph presents the summary of the main findings of the study.

Keywords: collaborative networks, rural regions, theory of qualitative structures, servitization, strategy.


Vidickienė, D., Gedminaitė-Raudonė, Ž., Melnikienė, R., Simonaitytė, V., Lankauskienė, R. (2021). Bendradarbiavimo tinklų ir jų platformų vaidmuo servitizuojant kaimiškųjų regionų ekonomiką. Monografija. Vilnius: Lietuvos socialinių mokslų centro Ekonomikos ir kaimo vystymo institutas. 145 p. : iliustr., santr. angl. (online) ISBN 987-609-96239-1-7


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