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Contents of IMP Journal issue 3, volume 6

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Being a networking firm on a day-to-day basis: customer and supplier routines in the Global Fish case



Authors


Debbie Harrison

Abstract


This paper takes an ostensive-performative perspective on inter-organisational routines in discussing how Global Fish – a small fish processor organisation - handles resource use variety in regular supplier and customer interactions. On the supply side, informal interaction circumvents formally designed routines. On the customer side, routines are connected across customer relationships through time. The routines are therefore one starting point for the co-ordination, use and organising of Global Fish’s resource collection for any given catching season.


Interaction to bridge network gaps The problem of specialization and innovation in fish technology



Authors


Thomas Hoholm & Håkan Håkansson

Abstract


Innovation is to a large extent about trying out new combinations. Often it means bridging different types of gaps, which becomes more problematic in cases of radical innovation, as well as in cases of highly specialized actors. Starting with a case where salmon was planned to be used as an input into salami but instead became a special high-quality fillet we will try to identify the important role, as well as the problems, of bridging. Proceeding from this, we seek to outline how such gaps may be bridged across relationships and networks. Hence, this paper represents an attempt at contributing towards an interactive conceptualization of innovation in industrial networks.


Organizational identities in networks: Sense-giving and sense-taking in the salmon farming ind



Authors


Lars Huemer

Abstract


The notion of organizational identity has received increased attention lately. This study proposes a ‘balanced’ understanding of identities in networks by combining outside-in and inside-out perspectives on identity development. By building on the network paradoxes of influence and control, a set of sense-processes are illustrated on a network level of analysis, together with a three layered notion of identity, based on the ARA model.


What is resource heterogeneity, and how can a firm handle the resource heterogeneity encountered in its business relationships? A case of handling heterogeneity of fish farms in outbound logistics of fish feed



Authors


Elsebeth Holmen & Ann-Charlott Pedersen

Abstract


Penrose (1959) suggested that resources exchanged on markets are homogeneous, and only become heterogeneous when they have crossed the firm boundary. As she put it (p.78): ‘resources are purchased in the market for their known services; but as soon as they become part of a firm the range of services they are capable of yielding starts to change’. The IMP Perspective offers a contrasting view, suggesting that all resources are heterogeneous, and that a firm deals with the heterogeneity of the resources of its main counterparts through interaction in business relationships. The purpose of this article is to discuss how a firm can systematically handle the heterogeneous resources encountered in its business relationships. First, we review how resource heterogeneity has been discussed by IMP researchers and suggest that there are presently three vocabularies-in-use: heterogeneity-as-potential, heterogeneity-as-fit, and heterogeneity-as-variety. Second, we present a case study of outbound logistics in a fish feed producing company. Third, we discuss how the outbound logistics function handles the resource heterogeneity encountered in relation to the customers’ fish farms. We propose that “handling heterogeneity” involves (1) developing and using systems, procedures and routines for discovering, using and changing features of single resources as well as sets of resources as well as (2) persuading, enabling and forcing the other parties involved to constantly pay attention to features; to partake in using, updating and developing systems in which the features are stored; and to take part in making changes in features. Finally, we suggest how heterogeneity encountered in relationships can be investigated and managed.


Networks in transition



Authors


Morten H. Abrahamsen & Håkan Håkansson

Abstract


How should a company act when faced with several possible options for network development? Should it support the changing forces in the network, or should it conform to the established practices? In this paper we look deeper into these questions. Our empirical setting is the Japanese seafood distribution network where foreign exporters are trying to shortcut the traditional distribution channels which have been developed over centuries, and which are deeply rooted in Japanese food-culture. These networks now face considerable pressure to change. We follow two distinct distribution patterns; one via the traditional fishmarket network, and one via the more direct route to market. We compare and contrast how activities are performed, resources are developed and how actors cooperate in these two networks. Our results suggest that these distribution systems have developed very differently in the way in which they are organised. Whereas the traditional distribution system is characterized by a “market” based interaction, the evolving direct distribution system is characterized by a “network” based interaction patterns. Each system requires different sets of network capabilities of the actors involved. However, rather than this being an “either/or”- decision, we argue that a company’s ability to act is ultimately related to how it decides to network.



Below the surface: How (seafood-)networks work – and how they change



Authors


Per Ingvar Olsen

Abstract


The objective of this editorial is to provide a broader context for five papers presenting different aspects of seafood industries, -distribution networks and markets. It also discusses in brief some of their propositional contributions to industrial network theories, focussing three areas of discussion; the evolution of distribution networks (Gadde 2010), the roles of network ideas in network change processes (Håkansson and Waluszewski, 2002) and the character and dynamics of network interface management (Ford et al, 2003; Ford et al, 2010). The included papers present interesting theoretical contributions as well as detailed case illustrations to these three areas of theory discussions.