The Complex System Theory for the Analysis of Inter-Firm Networks. A Literature Overview and Theoretic Framework

  •  Gandolfo Dominici    
  •  Gabriella Levanti    


In this paper we discuss the body of knowledge known as complex system theory and its relevance to the analysis of inter-firm networks. We start by addressing the development of systems thinking. Through a literature overview, we point out the main elements for the development of systemic thought from its beginning, through its application in business sciences, to the birth of Complex Systems Theory (CST). With these initial annotations we provide an introduction to the concepts of the complex systems theory.

We will underscore those aspects of CST that can be useful to analyze inter-firm networks, in order to highlight the evolutionary dynamics of the networks and to clarify the logical link between the networks’ structure and the cognitive processes inside the network and the firms.

In particular we highlight how CST can be an interpretative framework to connect and empower the economic, cognitive, structural and managerial aspects of network business systems.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.