The Network Forum

The manchester Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Research Group is host to the Network Forum. It consists of a dozen companies from all kinds of industries, the aim of which is to enhance their business's understanding of how to address the challenges of business relationships and to unlock the potential inherent in inter-organisational networks.

Why should I become a member?

The Network Forum provides:

  • Discussion rounds on specific business network issues
  • Seminars with leading academics and practitioners on business networks
  • Tailored executive development programmes in the area of business relationships and networks
  • Research opportunities in the areas of business-to-business relationships and networks
  • The Network Forum member companies are characterised by their non-competitive nature, ie only one company per industry and network will become a member. This enables free cross-industry learning and mutually beneficial interactions.

Further details

If you would like to know more about the Network Forum or would like to know how to become a member, please contact Professor Peter Naudé on 0161 275 7782 or email

The Network Challenge

Working in Networks

Because no business operates entirely in isolation, managing inter-organisational exchanges is a crucial competence. All organisations, public and private sector, are embedded in a network of relationships with suppliers, customers, competitors, regulators, and other parties. This means that inter-dependencies exist which sometimes restrict these companies, but also provide them with new possibilities. Successfully managing these opportunities and threats is a challenge facing most managers.

Examples of network challenges

  • A car manufacturer is able to react quicker to customer demand changes because of a long-term co-location agreement with a strategically important paint supplier.
  • A retailer faces stock control issues because the branded fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) products which they sell are not RFID-enabled, due to an ongoing deep relationship of dominant FMCG companies with a specific packaging supplier, which has not yet invested in this technology.

Given these complex relationships

  • How does a company position itself in business networks?
  • How does it mobilise other companies to add and co-create value?
  • How does it manage to secure adequate returns from its networking activities?

Before such crucial questions can be answered, managers and companies need to understand what their relevant network is, how it works, and how it can change.

The Network Challenge Programme

The manchester Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Research Group at Manchester Business School has extensive experience in researching such questions of understanding and managing in complex networks. In collaboration with companies from many different sectors and countries over many years, a better understanding of business networks has been gained.

About the programme

The intensive programme has been developed to address the specific issues of the network challenge. In an interactive atmosphere, you will explore aspects of networks, networking, and network competences. The workshop will include practical and hands-on discussions of case studies as well as introductions to managerial tools and strategic perspectives about how to mobilise networks for sustainable competitive advantage. The programme will be tailor-made to the specific needs of a select group of senior managers.

Who should attend?

Strategic decision-makers and senior managers from marketing, strategy, business development, supply management, or related senior managerial functions.

What will you get out of it?

  • A clear understanding of contemporary network issues
  • Tools and hands-on concepts about how to deal with network challenges, and how to leverage your company's capabilities within a network
  • Best-practice examples of business networks and network competences from different industry settings
  • An exchange of experiences with other senior managers as well as leading consultants and academics

Programme contributors

  • Professor Pete Naudé has extensive consulting experience with P-E Consulting, and has been teaching and researching in the area of business-to-business marketing for many years
  • Professor Stephan Henneberg focuses on research and executive development in the business-to-business area, especially on strategic marketing issues. Before his academic career, he held senior consulting positions with A.T. Kearney and McKinsey & Co.

Further details

To find out more about the Network Challenge programme, please contact Professor Peter Naudé on 0161 275 7782 or email

Executive Development Centre

Manchester Business School
MBS West
The University of Manchester
Booth Street West
M15 6PB, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 161 275 2910
Fax: +44 (0) 161 275 6587