Relational pluralism, uncertainty: A dynamic network analysis in the fintech domain

Ami Xiaolei Wang, H.L. Rick Aalbers


This research presents a dynamic,firm-level study of the role of relational pluralism as a determinant for inter-organizational tie evolution. Drawing on network theory as well as relational pluralism literature and in the context of the financial technology sector, we examine how and when firms can leverage their multiple existing networks to advantageously shape opportunities and inducements in order to facilitate inter-organizational network development. We suggest that firms establish multiplex relationships with one another and develop multiple identities within and across different time frames as a bedrock to support their future inter-organizational collaborations. Extending on the literature on relational pluralism, our study positions relational pluralism as a mechanism for reducing the uncertainty, thereby enabling firms to improve performance. In other words, we suggest that uncertainty positively influences new inter-organizational tie formation. This study advances understanding of the current debate on the evolutionary dynamics of inter-organizational networks and provides guidance to practitioners so that they may purposefully enact network ties over different time horizons.

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