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abstract  This paper focuses on the role of knowledge in intentionally created business networks called nets. Nets are seen to offer firms collective benefits beyond those of a single firm or market transaction. We propose that the types of knowledge and learning required in the management of different types of business net are dependent on the value creation characteristics of the net types. Based on this we suggest a classification of three generic net types –‘current business nets’, ‘business renewal nets’, and ‘emerging new business nets’– and argue that they pose different conditions for management in nets. Using this framework and integrating notions from the industrial network approach, strategic management and dynamic capabilities view, and organizational learning we make a number of observations and propositions about the role of knowledge and learning in the three types of business net. The paper contributes to the emerging theory of network management.