Background Note | HBS Case Collection | January 2006 (Revised October 2007)

Managing Networked Businesses: Course Overview for Students

by Thomas R. Eisenmann


Provides an overview for students of the MBA elective course Managing Networked Businesses (MNB). MNB focuses on management challenges in businesses that exhibit network effects. The first section of the note explains that such businesses comprise a large and growing share of the global economy and confront distinctive management challenges. Due to the unusual microeconomic attributes of networked businesses, designing optimal business models is difficult, and managers often must cope with winner-take-all competitive dynamics. Winner-take-all outcomes have profound implications for strategy decisions, and choices about capital structure, organizational design, and government relations. For this reason, MNB employs a general management perspective. The second section of the note reviews a set of core concepts covered in MNB and provides definitions of networks, network effects, and platforms. The final section briefly describes the organization and contents of MNB's modules.

Keywords: Business Model; Capital Structure; Business or Company Management; Network Effects; Organizational Design; Business and Government Relations; Social and Collaborative Networks; Competitive Strategy;


Eisenmann, Thomas R. "Managing Networked Businesses: Course Overview for Students." Harvard Business School Background Note 806-103, January 2006. (Revised October 2007.)