In spite of several obstacles to gaining legitimacy within academic circles, networks were taken as a new development paradigm in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Authors of different nationalities challenged the established views based on hierarchy, market and rivalry by recognising the causal importance of relations between entities ‘rather than the entities themselves’ (Easton, 1996:291). Among other causes such recognition was triggered by the successful attack of Japanese organisations, which were taken as ‘network organisations’ by analysts (see Dore, 1983), and their triumph over large Western organisations and markets (Saunders, 1994:12). As the Japanese success was assessed as extremely costly, not only to large organisations but also to national governments, a new international view came to be accepted, led by the USA and Europe. This was the view that economic development required proactive and more socially driven business systems capable of anticipating market needs (Piore and Sabel, 1984).