Integrating sustainability in business network initiation: the case of an Italian pasta maker

Andrea Sabatini, Thomas O’Toole, Gian Luca Gregori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore how sustainability is integrated into a new venture’s business network initiation. This study unpacks sustainability in business network initiation using temporal bracketing and identifying its main processes. Temporal bracketing supports the understanding of the evolution of sustainability in network initiation. The processes help explore the sustainability patterns that emerge from the new venture’s attempt to integrate sustainability into network initiation. Design/methodology/approach: The exploratory case study of an Italian pasta maker draws on industrial network theory to focus on the business network initiation of new ventures. The novelty is the integration of sustainability into the business network initiation literature. This paper adopts a single case study methodology and an abductive approach to analysis. Findings: This study finds that sustainability in network initiation is achieved through three periods of initiation and through five processes that are overlapping, intertwined and reciprocal. This study suggests that sustainability can have a positive or negative impact when integrated into the initiation process. Originality/value: This paper provides a conceptual framework for understanding how a new venture integrates sustainability in its network initiation. The framework comprises periods and processes of network initiation which show how a new venture can integrate sustainability in its business activities and resources through interaction with network actors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1894-1908
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Business and Industrial Marketing
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2021


  • Business network initiation
  • Industrial network approach
  • Network initiation periods
  • New venture
  • Process
  • Sustainability


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