Balancing Efficiency and Co-Creation in Networks: A Case Study of Ruter
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- Master of Science 
This thesis aims to explore how efficient coordination and co-creation for innovation can be combined in a business network. To study this, we build on literature about networks and knowledge sharing, to provide insight on the mechanisms that can affect efficiency and the collaborative environment in the network. We study this in the context of Ruter and its network of operators and partners. The network provides public transport services in Oslo and Akershus, and consist of 11 member organisations that operate a variety of services, coordinated by the administrative company, Ruter. A case study research design has been applied to examine the phenomenon and gain insights on how the network has evolved over time. We conducted 27 interviews with key individuals from all 11 member organisations and accessed archival data on the network. With this solid basis of data, we were able to gain an in-depth understanding of the network’s development over time and the characteristics that affect learning and co-creation in the network. In our study we find that the network has gone from a turbulent start, to become an efficient service provider with well-functioning collaboration at an operational level. By joining efforts to work on achieving a common goal, the network managed to become highly efficient and created a solid basis for a good collaborative environment. Until recently, the main focus of the network has been on exploiting knowledge and resources to improve their services and to meet the passenger growth. Today’s complex and changing environment requires the network to collectively shift the focus towards exploration and co-creation, in order to continue to deliver high-quality services that satisfy the continuously changing demand from customers and stakeholders. However, we argue that exploration should not come at the expense of the overall efficiency of the network, but rather be balanced in order to secure progress in both dimensions. Balancing efficient coordination and co-creation can be difficult because these two dimensions have attributes that are fundamentally different. We find some attributes of efficiency, such as strong contractual focus, low levels of involvement and rigidity, to have an inhibiting effect on exploration and co-creation in the network. However, we also find some of these attributes to be crucial for the network’s further development. This thesis contributes to the literature on network development, by discussing how the network, despite these attributes, can facilitate co-creation, without significantly compromising efficient coordination.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Business, Strategy - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2018