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This paper examines the problems of time and process facing network researchers. We argue that the problem of time in network research can be conceptualised as a problem relating to multi-levelled analyses. It is through a multi-levelled analysis that we find different temporal structures and thus different ways of temporal organising. First, we address both the problem of time and boundary in network analysis and propose introducing organisational routines as a way to appreciate how actors perceive temporal structures. We argue that the problem of time is more accurately described in the context of a process based approach to network research. Second, in the context of inter-organisational routines we consider how actors perceive time and how temporal structuring is negotiated through dialogues. A dialogical analysis, looking at real others, imaginal others and artifacts, can reveal different temporal structures in routines. Case data from a University-Industry inter-organisational context is discussed to illustrate these negotiated temporal structures. Third, we conclude that multiple levels of analysis in network research provide a more comprehensive picture of the network from a process perspective. This paper argues that while temporal structures or the problem of time is a secondary concern, multi-levelled analyses is more pressing for network researchers
Horan, C. and Finch, J. Dialogue within inter-organisational routines: time and process in network research. Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Conference, Budapest, September 2010.