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Contents of IMP Journal issue 3, volume 8
Coping with Recurring Issues in BtoB research: The Sisyphus effect? Or a “rolling stone” Syndrome?
Bernard Cova, Catherine Pardo, Robert Salle and Robert Spencer
Theory would have it, according to some, that scientific disciplines follow cycles involving phases of soul-searching and radical
reformulation of their scientific foundations. This article puts under scrutiny the example of the IMP Group and its evolution in this
regard. On the basis of findings - including, for example, the main IMP scientific underpinnings, and an analysis of bibliometric
surveys - the underlying specifics of IMP as a research community are discussed, as well as the possible future development of the
Whilst the IMP community would seem to a large degree to escape the questioning of scientific foundations, it can be seen, however,
to be questioning over time fairly systematically its identity, its modus operendi, its style, and the brand it represents, but also how
these elements influence its position in today’s academic world. Indeed, in the case of IMP the building of a specific theoretical back-
ground and the progressive shaping of a research community – the social and the scientific - appear as two totally non-dissociable,
intimately interlinked, phenomena.
Conclusions tend towards optimism rather than what could be on the surface perceived as pessimism. The robustness and plasticity
of the community’s theoretical foundations lend themselves to a “rolling stone” effect, where researchers have the latitude and pos-
sibility of proposing incremental adjustments to the framework, building and improving on it.
Phoenix in the Network: The Genesis of a Hungarian Industrial Company
Tibor Mandják, Zsuzsanna Szalkai, Edit Neumann-Bódi, Mária Magyar and Judit Simon
This paper presents a case study of the Hungarian company Videoton from its origin in 1938 to the present day. The aim of this
paper is to describe how the company coped with changes in its business context, while the relevant network of Videoton changed
significantly, and what factors enabled these changes in the network position. The analysis runs along three dimensions: changes in
the key customer relationships, in the product and process technology. It describes the outcome of strategizing (Gadde et al. 2003)
as influencing the network position through building up and maintaining business relationships and the company’s competences
and resources. The analysis takes place through the five periods in the Videoton story: (1) The foundation of Videoton; (2) Videoton
in the Centrally Planned Economy ; (3) Videoton in the Decentralized-Planned Economy ; (4) The collapse of Videoton; and, (5)
Phoenix Videoton, which are introduced through a case description. We investigate how the company mobilizes different types of
resources according to the 4 R model in each period (Håkansson and Waluszewski, 2002 in Håkansson et al, 2009).
The paper shows that strategizing is based on the company’s resources and capabilities which create value only if they are connected
to the resources and activities of other companies through different types of interactions. Analysis of the case demonstrates that the
focal point of strategizing is building network position and the ability to develop business relationships. In our Videoton case the
outcome of strategizing shows that this process is heavily built on company experiences. We also discuss “network-bridge-over
capabilities” that can help a firm facing a dramatically changing business context.
‘Footprints of Strategy’ Investigating Purchasing Strategies in a Longitudinal Case
Kajsa Hulthén, Tim Torvatn
The aim of this paper is to identify the effects of decisions made by firms regarding supply-network strategizing, and to trace the
consequences of these effects over time. The article presents a longitudinal single case study describing a producer of electrical
heaters, Electrical Heaters Inc., and this firm’s purchasing of steel over the last 30 years. The paper introduces ‘footprints’, either
material or immaterial, as a way of tracing the effects resulting from one change, thereby creating the context for subsequent chang-
es. The analysis points to the importance of considering the strategies of external actors, as well as a firm’s interaction with those
actors, and the fact that companies are not entirely in control of these changes.
Developing a Usage Network: Combining Business and Non Business. Resources to Implement Innovation
Florence Crespin-Mazet, Corinne Grenier, Karine Goglio-Primard and Eve Lombardo
This paper explores the roles of actors in combining resources to develop an innovation network supporting the actual use of Auto-
mated External Defibrillators –AEDs- by end citizens in France. While there is growing attention devoted to innovation networks
and recognition of the importance of adopting a users’ perspective to analyze innovation ventures, the role of actors in the develop-
ment of resource combinations as complex solutions has been acknowledged as requiring more empirical research.
This paper contributes to better understanding how technical innovations can be embedded in a using setting through interaction and
development of new resource combinations in networks with a focus on the implementation stage of innovation. The paper sheds
the light on new perspectives related to the configuration of innovation networks in terms of structure, coordination mechanisms and
resource constellations. It suggests enlarging the perspective to a usage point of view to refer to the actual practices of appropriation
(or lack of appropriation) of the innovation and to highlight the role of other value partners in this process (non users). It introduces
the concept of “Usage Network” to reflect a larger perspective than the concept of users’ network. Firstly, beyond users, the Usage
Network integrates a plurality of actors such as public institutions, sponsors, associations and opinion leaders coming from different
business and non business arenas (public, private, individuals/professionals, experts/lay citizens…) having idiosyncratic resources
enabling them to relate and interact with users. Secondly, the paper shows how the transformation of the original innovative product
and its combination with the resources from those various actors take form into additional solutions, enriching it and facilitating its
diffusion and adoption.
The paper also provides an original insight on the coordination mechanisms of such Usage Network carried out by boundary actors
which are able to create links between the AED supplier and their own network. These boundary actors coordinate the activities of
its various members in their effort at combining their resources with those of the supplier: they act as “lead-value creating partners”
for the supplier. The paper also highlights the variety of resource combinations required to develop the final solution both within
type and across types and confirms the richness of mixed combinations in terms of value creation. This richness also comes from
the plurality of the actors holding them.