The Road to Access : On Business Exchanges in the Setting of a Bankruptcy

Abstract: Using a business network approach, in this thesis markets are viewed as sets of connected business relationships. Business relationships arise through interaction between actors that want to gain access to external resources. Interaction, in turn, is composed of business exchanges. Business exchanges, such as economic exchange, have only been treated as characteristics of interaction, however. Because of this, many central aspects of business exchanges are hidden in the compound interaction variable. With this as a background, the overall aim of this thesis is to discover new theoretical aspects regarding business exchanges.This overall aim is reached through the purpose of the thesis; that is, to enhance our understanding of the processes in which actors gain access (i.e. rights to property) to supplier resources. The purpose is achieved through a single case study in the setting of the Swedish automotive manufacturer Saab Automobile’s (Saab) bankruptcy in 2011. In the study, I follow Saab, their bankruptcy estate and their subsequent acquirer. Through two research questions I identify and delineate three exchange transaction processes (i.e. ways to structure and execute business exchanges) in which my focal actors gained access to supplier resources. These are trade credit transactions, failed trade credit transactions and reversed trade credit transactions.In previous research, these aspects of business exchanges have not been considered. This is problematic as most inter-firm exchange transactions in the western world today are trade credit transactions (i.e. payment 30–60 days after delivery). Trade credit transactions are processes including expected outcomes of social exchange, exchange of rights and an exchange of things (i.e. product & money). Previous research seems just to have dealt with discrete repeated exchange transactions (i.e. sequences of single events). In conclusion, this thesis suggests that it is important to focus more on the structure and execution of processes, such as in trade credit transactions, through which business exchanges are carried out. Doing so would imply seeing business relationships and networks as phenomena under constant construction.