The use of activity theory in understanding multi-actor market oriented collaborations
The purpose of the work addressed in this paper is to design and operate effective collaborative environments and networks that enhance market pathways for SME’s by embracing collaboration as an operational tactic. However it is observed that the kinds of collaborations that one might learn from are many and varied, so that an activity theory framework has been useful in characterising case examples to facilitate comparison. Whilst this has proved helpful in providing a snapshot of a particular current or planned collaboration, it is suggested in this paper that the activity view needs to be supplemented by collaboration life-cycle and generic actor views. It is further noted that collaborations formed to explore possibilities, called a virtual breeding environment by some researchers, have different characteristics from those formed to exploit opportunities, commonly identified as some kind of virtual enterprise. Some characteristics of each type are tabulated in terms of intersecting networks of actors, activities and resources.