Purpose To develop a conceptual framework for the viability monitoring of franchising networks as complex systems, capable of ensuring effective and efficient monitoring of structure (adequacy of the components and relations) and system (performance). Design/methodology/approach From a Viable System Approach (VSA), the franchising, characterized by a network configuration, is qualified as a system in the process of completion were the components of Government and Operative Structure are respectively indentified in the focal firm and interconnected affiliate components. Findings The analysis leads to the definition of a complex system in which the function of government of franchisor takes place on a network of relationship that needs an organization design and the development of a strong structural consonance between the components and a resonance in systemic aims and objectives. Practical implications Viable System Approach (VSA) re-evaluates the role of the government as responsible for a proper exploitation of the economic structural potential linked to network synergies. High rates of affiliate turnovers are considered as signs of system’s instability that will erode its ability of survival. Originality/value In franchising organizations, the aim of survival should be pursued at the level of the overall network, developing a shared governance based on the objectives of consonance and resonance.
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