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Contents of IMP Journal issue 1, volume 4

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Business Relationships and Networks: Reflections on the IMP tradition



Authors


Björn Axelsson

Abstract


This paper provides a reflective view of some of the developments of the IMP- oriented research. It focuses on the two core models, the interaction model for descriptions and analyses of buyer- supplier relationships and the ARA- network model for analyses of business networks. The discussion takes as its point of departure the three major tasks of a typical academic professional: research, education of students and practitioner training. The discussion addresses some of the strengths and weaknesses of the IMP- approach as reflected by the two models and in relation to the three tasks. It utilises several illustrations to demonstrate the ways in which the two models may support analyses of real events. But it also points to some criticism as well as potential ways to address some critical issues. It is not meant to be a general evaluation of good or bad but rather demonstrating some of the important contributions from the models and also some of the critical issues where continued progress would be desirable. The discussion is solely created by one researcher with a 30 year long experience from being involved with this research in all three fields of practice.


Manager - Researcher Relationships



Authors


Geoff Easton

Abstract


Very little is known about what happens when researchers and managers are involved in research situations. This paper reports on a project which sought to begin to explore these processes and structures through an open interview study of 114 interviewees, managers and academics, of varying degrees of seniority. The results were analysed employing a broad analytical framework using, implicitly, various IMP concepts and conceptualising research episodes and relationships as socio-economic exchanges but also extending them to networks beyond the research interaction dyad. One major finding was the importance, in researching managers and organisations, of the issue of normativity.


Temporal Profiles of Activities and Temporal Orientations of Actors as Part of Market Practices in Business Networks



Authors


Per Andersson and Lars-Gunnar Mattsson

Abstract


The purpose of the article is to contribute to concepts and methods for research on network dynamics. We introduce a business practice oriented perspective on temporality. Based on literature on organizations we develop a framework identifying temporal profiles of business activities and temporal orientation of business actors. We apply these temporal dimensions to an STS/ANT - based business practice approach that distinguishes between three interacting practices: normalizing, representational and exchange practices. We illustrate the framework with some empirical examples. The paper is concluded with a discussion of how the approach might be applied to research on temporality in business networks. In an appendix, we comment on how temporality is treated in marketing and strategy literature.


Analysing Business Interaction



Authors


David Ford, Lars-Erik Gadde, Håkan Håkansson, Ivan Snehota and Alexandra Waluszewski

Abstract


This paper develops a conceptualization of the nature of business interaction drawing on the empirical work of the IMP Group. The paper argues that interaction is the central process within the business landscape. The paper interprets business interaction as a process that occurs between specific companies and which changes and transforms aspects of the resources and activities of the companies involved in it and the companies themselves. Thus the central argument of the paper is that business activities, actors and resources take their form and are defined by the interactions in which they are involved. The substantive nature of business interaction indicates that each interaction process will take a unique form in time and network space. This uniqueness has important consequences both for the structure and processes of the economic landscape and places interaction at the heart of business development.