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Contents of IMP Journal issue 3, volume 7
Diversity in Homogeneity – A longitudinal bibliometric review of Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) Group Conferences from 1984 to 2012
Gerhard A. Wuehrer & Angela Elisabeth Smejkal
The work of the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) Group has left impressive marks on the research field of industrial marketing. Its influence and development over the last 30 years is well recognized in connection with the thoughts of a general theory of business marketing. This study is devoted to answering the question ‘what is the paradigmatic status f the research group?’ On the basis of research questions, a longitudinal content-based analysis of the last 28 IMP conferences has been conducted by using a semi-automated software analysis tool. Findings indicate that the IMP Group has developed over the years into an ‘academic brand’ (Cova et al. 2009) and, from a Kuhnian sense (De Langhe 2013), represents ordinary science where exploitation of current concepts is the daily business and the exploration of new knowledge could be the next evolutionary step.
IMP theory in light of process- and system theories
Per Ingvar Olsen
This paper compares and discusses IMP theory in relation to Process Theory and Systems Theory, and also relates it to the ANT.
It contrasts and illuminates ontological and epistemological underpinnings, methodologies and theories while also throwing some
light on their historical roots and mutual influences over time. It argues that IMP is representing a process based economic theory
of value creation that is rooted in a fundamental critique of main stream economic and marketing theory as well as in a deviation
from the basic conceptions of the systems theories by which it was influenced in an early phase. From there the IMP developed more
flexible analytical constructs that show more kinship with process thinking than with systems thinking. The IMP is also found to dis-
tinguish itself from both ANT and Systems Theory in maintaining a symmetrical and reciprocal conception of interaction where the
others in different ways focus on the unification of an acting unit in relation to an external environment. This is a particular strength
of IMP, but also a challenge that calls for further clarification of analytical concepts.
Approaching (Inter-)Actors in the Business Landscape
Antonella La Rocca
Diffused interdependences and the centrality of interaction processes evidenced in research on business markets imply the need to
re-examine some of the central concepts in marketing and to reflect on how research can address them. This particularly applies to
the concept of actor that from an interaction perspective appears rather different from how it is generally intended in management
and marketing. Two research traditions in particular ? symbolic interactionism and the actor-network theory ? can be related to
the discussion of the approach to actors from the IMP perspective. In this paper, we first examine the traits that characterize actors
in business relationships, in particular the variable entity of actors, their relational specificity, and their emergent nature. We then
discuss the implications of these traits regarding how actors can be approached in empirical research.
The Political Embeddedness of Business Networks in a Chinese Context: The Case of a Biopharmaceutical Business Network
Åse Linné & Tommy Tsung-Ying Shih
Several researchers point to the intense interaction between the Chinese government and the business sphere. This paper investigates
the political embeddedness of biopharmaceutical business networks in China. The biopharmaceutical drug innovation process illus-
trates the political embeddedness of a business network. The analysis is based on the resource interaction framework (4R model) and
identifies interactions between political, business and non-business actors in the network. The paper finds that the business network
is deeply politically embedded and that the government actively engages research institutes and companies in the development and
commercialisation of biopharmaceutical drugs in China.
The Role of Tie Strength, Relational Capability and Trust in the International Performance of High Tech SMEs.
Breda Kenny & John Fahy
This study identifies and examines the relationship between network characteristics and international performance of High Tech
SMEs (HTSME) in the telecommunications industry in Ireland. The network characteristics construct for this paper comprises three
dimensions: strength of ties, relational capability and trust. Empirical research was carried out using a mail survey in which 154
firms completed and returned the questionnaire. Five hypotheses were analysed using structural equations modelling using LISREL.
The hypothesis stating that stronger ties are more influential on international performance than weak ties was supported. Strong ties
and trust were positively associated with international performance, but non-significant. Weak ties and relational capability were
negatively associated with international performance. Therefore, these findings indicate that the level of interdependence between
the firms in this research is not prominent. The findings also imply that the effects of networks are contingent: they can present both
strengths and constraints to firms.