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Contents of IMP Journal issue 1, volume 3

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Accounting and Distributed Product Development


Martin Carlsson-Wall, Kalle Kraus and Johnny Lind


This paper deals with the nature of product development and the impact of accounting practices on such developments. Through an in-depth case study at ABB Robotics we found that distributed product development encompasses a mix of hierarchical and collective systems integration, planning and improvisation. We thereby contribute to the emerging literature on distributed product development by revealing the importance of the combinations of the hierarchical view (c.f. Brusoni et al, 2001) and the interactive view (c.f. Dubois and Araujo, 2006).
In addition, we show how financial logic, captured through target costing, influences many of the pragmatic decisions concerning technical and organisational interfaces in distributed product development processes. Target costing forms the basis for rejecting technically well-functioning solutions when they are too expensive. Furthermore, through functional analysis, it shapes the search pattern used to identify possible solutions, thereby impacting on interaction and improvisation in the development process. We argue that the literature on distributed product development could be extended to make the financial logic explicit and treating it on the same level as the technical and organizational logic inherent in the development processes. Distributed product development was often about reaching viable compromises between technical, organisational and financial features. Target costing was found to have numerous roles in distributed product development. During hierarchical systems integration, target costing functioned as a hierarchical planning and evaluation technique. During collective systems integration, target costing was used to give focus to joint problem-solving, to aid knowledge integration and to guide the creation of consensus when prioritising.

Keywords: accounting, target costing, distributed product development, networks

The Network Researchers’ Network: A Social Network Analysis Of The Imp Group 1984-2006


Stephan C. Henneberg, Zhizhong Jiang, Peter Naudé and Robert P. Ormrod


The Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) Group is a network of academic researchers working in the area of business-to-business marketing. The group meets every year to discuss and exchange ideas, with a conference having been held every year since 1984 (there was no meeting in 1987). In this paper, based upon the papers presented at the 22 conferences held to date, we undertake a Social Network Analysis in order to examine the degree of co-publishing that has taken place between this group of researchers. We identify the different components in this database, and examine the large main components in some detail. The egonets of three of the original ‘founding fathers’ are examined in detail, and we draw comparisons as to how their publishing strategies vary. Finally, the paper draws some more general conclusions as to the insights that SNA can bring to those working within business-to-business marketing.

Keywords: Social Network Analysis, Business Network, IMP Group

Behind The Fish Market Façade


Sophie Cantillon and Håkan Håkansson


Fish is often referred to as a commodity because it is a simple product wherein variety occurs naturally in terms of size and species. In other words, a far cry from a hi-tech product which would conventionally be assumed to involve much more direct and elaborate contact between buyers and sellers. This paper uses two fish market cases, one local and one national, to argue that the interaction in these markets has significant content (substance) and that the markets are, therefore, more organized than would be supposed. The cases are analysed using a research tool which has been developed to characterize variety in interaction.

Keywords: Interaction, Fishing Industry, Market Structure, Resources

Co-operation Facilitators in Dynamic Business Triads


Anne Holma, Peter Björk and Henrik Virtanen


This research discusses the relevance and stability of co-operation facilitators in dynamic business triads. Qualitative case studies were used to identify and describe the development of inter-organizational co-operations within the business travel distribution sector. Three separate development phases were distinguished in our longitudinal study as "the unmanaged phase", "the managed phase", and "the fragmentation phase".
The importance of co-operation in inter-organizational networks has been stressed in previous research and factors that facilitate co-operation have been identified. These ad-hoc studies have meritoriously brought our knowledge forward on most dimensions, but the dynamic aspects of networks are still scantly studied. Our understanding of the dynamic dimensions of co-operation facilitators is therefore still inadequate, a gap we bridge in this research.
The findings presented in this exploratory research reveal that there are two categories of co-operation facilitators. Stable, phase independent co-operation facilitators, here defined as first order co-operation facilitators, is one category. A majority of co-operation facilitators are however more volatile. These phase dependent co-operation facilitators are defined as second ordered co-operation facilitators.

Keywords: co-operation facilitators, business triad, corporate travel, dynamics.