The Atlas-AFMI Thesis Prize for 2020 awarded to Stefano Valdermarin

Published on June 15, 2020 Updated on June 15, 2020
Prix de thèse Atlas-AFMI 2020 décerné à Stefano Valdemarin
Prix de thèse Atlas-AFMI 2020 décerné à Stefano Valdemarin

The Atlas-AFMI Association awards a biannual prize to the best doctoral dissertations in international management. This year, Stefano Valdemarin has been awarded the 2020 Prize for his thesis, “Network development in international organizations: The case of ONLYLYON”, defended at iaelyon School of Management in November 2019 under the supervision of Ulrike Mayrhofer.

About the thesis, Network development in international organizations: The case of ONLYLYON

In a background of constant change, organisations need to develop new strategies to seize business opportunities on a world-scale. Based on the Uppsala model on the evolution of organisations and a network-based approach, the doctoral research explores network development of international organisations. Following the theory of micro-foundations, we can see two levels of analysis that help us better understand the interaction between organisations and its members in the process of the evolution of its network.  A unique business case study was developed with ONLYLYON, the organisation aiming to promote the city of Lyon across the world by using a vast network of individuals called the “Ambassador’s Network”. Using a research-intervention strategy, a research topic was co-developed between the researchers and the organisation, which aimed to develop the Ambassador’s Network. The empirical study consisted of 36 interviews, of which 5 were exploratory and 31 semi-directive, 103 participatory observations over a 30 month period as well as secondary data.  

The results that stemmed from the study demonstrated the important role that individuals play in the development of organizational networks. They underline the importance of creating a network that allows organizations and individuals to develop opportunities themselves. The researchers have proposed a roadmap to create the Ambassador’s Network of ONLYLYON in Italy and develop an international "network’s network". The two processes bring together the managerial proposals and rely on three steps : the implementation, the structuring/restructuring, and the expansion of the network. 

The researchers have also laid out a model for studying the interactions between an organization and its members during the process of developing the network. This research-intervention method can help ONLYLYON to develop its international networks by putting strategic actions in place. It also contributes to the development of the Uppsala method on the evolution of organizations and to the debate on the importance of micro-foundations in management research.