To survive and prosper in a constantly changing business environment, firms must  design their  operational structures, systems, strategies  and super ordinate goals to organically adjust the possible changes to their operational environment most of which come unannounced. The acquisition of strong network ties remains a functional pre-requisite in this adventure. We sought in this study, to explore the extent to which strategy-driven motivation factors and relational motivational factors significantly influence acquisition of network ties. Our data was procured from a sample of 150 managers and owners of small scale automobile firms recruited from an automobile cluster in Ghana. We adapted but modified a feed-forward neural network model where data propagate along the connections in the direction from the network inputs to the network outputs from the extant literature. Our results show a complementary relationship between the effect of interactions that precede the development of cooperation among organizations (relational factors) and strategic forces which involves the deployment of firm’s core competencies to define direction and purpose to achieve competitive advantage. It was particularly observed that the prediction inaccuracy of the relational motivation factors outperforms each of the strategic motivation parameters as far as contribution or hindrance to acquisition of network ties is concerned. We propose the need for firms in automobile SMEs in Ghana to harness potential sources of competitive strength such as previous experience of working together with others, success of previous collaborations, common third parties and personal relationships as the key driving force to attainment of competitive advantage over and above other factors so identified in the research.


Keywords: strategic motivation; relational motivation; network ties; network acquisition; complementarity.





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