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  • 1.
    Gebert-Persson, Sabine
    et al.
    Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
    Mattsson, Lars-Gunnar
    Department of Marketing and Strategy, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Öberg, Christina
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Has research on the internationalization of firms from an IMP perspective resulted in a theory of internationalization?2015In: The IMP Journal, ISSN 2059-1403, E-ISSN 0809-7259, Vol. 9, no 2, p. 208-226Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: Recently, increased interest has been devoted to discuss theory development in relation to business-to-business (B2B) marketing. The purpose of this paper is to explore these thoughts through describing and analyzing research on the internationalization of firms from an Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) perspective. The authors ask: to what extent have these studies resulted in a theory of internationalization?

    Design/methodology/approach: The paper is conceptual and frames research on the internationalization of firms by means of definitions, domains, relations of variables and predictions. It looks into research on internationalization based on an IMP-inspired network perspective to see to what extent research has resulted in theories of internationalization.

    Findings: While there have been substantial efforts on theorizing related to IMP-based internationalization studies, the research has not yet resulted in theory.

    Research limitations/implications: In this paper one phenomenon was selected that has already been addressed in IMP research, namely, the internationalization of firms. Had the authors chosen another phenomenon previously studied in IMP the findings might had turned out differently.

    Originality/value: The paper makes a contribution to understanding how ideas are developed, used and referenced in long-term research development for the specific phenomenon of internationalization. The paper contributes to the debate on theories within B2B research.

  • 2.
    Hallberg, Peter
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Hasche, Nina
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Kask, Johan
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Öberg, Christina
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Quality management systems as indicators for stability and change in customer-supplier relationships2018In: The IMP Journal, ISSN 2059-1403, E-ISSN 0809-7259, Vol. 12, no 3, p. 483-497Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: This paper extends the discussion on stability and change through focus on specific relationship characteristics. Quality management systems prescribe established routines for supplier selection and monitoring, and may thereby designate the nature and longevity of customer-supplier relationships. The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss the effects of quality management systems on stability and change in different forms of customer-supplier relationships.

    Design/methodology/approach: A number of illustrative examples based on participatory data and interviews help to capture different types of customer-supplier relationships (private/public; certified/non-certified) related to quality management systems.

    Findings: While certified customers in most sectors only need to prove that their suppliers have procedures in place, many customers equate this with requiring that their suppliers should be certified. The paper further shows that customers replace deeper understandings for their suppliers' procedures with the requirement that they be certified.

    Originality/value: The paper contributes to the existing literature through integrating quality management systems literature with the business network approach. For business network studies, the discussion on quality management systems as constricting regimes is interesting and provides practical insights to the business network studies as such quality management systems increase in importance and spread.

  • 3. Huemer, Lars
    et al.
    Håkansson, Håkan
    Prenkert, Frans
    BI Norwegian School of Management, Oslo, Norway,.
    The Becoming of Cermaq: The interplay between network influences and firm level control ambitions2009In: The IMP Journal, ISSN 2059-1403, E-ISSN 0809-7259, Vol. 3, no 3, p. 53-75Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper, we study the birth and development of an international company, Cermaq. International business, by definition, deals with space, and some business activities are performed across national boundaries. For instance, it can be a company situated in one country but buying from suppliers situated in other countries, selling to customers in other countries or making investments in production or R&D in other countries. Here, we focus on the interrelatedness between the focal firm’s HQ’s ambition to be in control of its own development, and the influence that it experiences from its evolving network. The interplay and possible tension between firm-level control and network influence is used further to understand the construction of identities in networks. We suggest that identities develop as a result of internal features and successful control; the internal features of others and their successful influence; and new demands created by either new positions in old networks or entering into entirely ‘new’ networks. Both space and time emerge as central in the development of firms and networks, where the overall business logic only can be understood in hindsight.

  • 4.
    Prenkert, Frans
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Market investments in resource interfaces: understanding market assets in networks2016In: The IMP Journal, ISSN 2059-1403, E-ISSN 0809-7259, Vol. 10, no 3, p. 409-442Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide an account of who forms what market assets bymaking what market investments in a business network.

    Design/methodology/approach: To investigate what market investments were made by certainactors into resource interfaces as market assets, the author draws on a case network based on aninvestigation of the Chilean salmon production network. To this end, the author chose the fish–beingthe focal object resource in that network–as a point of departure. The author systematicallyinvestigates the resource interfaces that this resource has with three other specific resources: feed,fishmeal, and vaccines in a thick case study.

    Findings: This study shows that market investments entail committing resources toresource interfaces which turns them into market assets. Resource interfaces as market assets haveimplications on how we characterize and value resource interfaces. Multilateral resource interfacesbecome valuable to firms as a result of continuous market investments made into them. This producesdifferent types of resource interfaces, some of which are of mediatory character bridging betweendistant resources in a network.

    Research limitations/implications: This study focuses on the market investments being made tocreate and sustain market assets. Of course such assets are linked to a firm’s internal assets which thisstudy do not investigate. In addition, this study emphasizes the commitment of resources into existingresource interfaces, the ensuing creation of market assets, and its use and value for firms anddownplays a firm’s need to account for market investments and the market investments required tocreate a new resource interface.

    Practical implications: As resource interfaces are valuable market assets, it is important tounderstand the functioning of different types of resource interfaces so as to exploit their potential asefficient as possible. This paper shows that some resources act as bridging resources connecting theborders of two indirectly related resources. Controlling bridging resources becomes an essential taskfor managers in business networks.

    Social implications: Understanding the market investments into resource interfaces enables firmsto become more skilled in organizing and controlling networks. These networks can play importantroles in the economic development of society and create improved societal conditions for people,organizations, and economies.

    Originality/value: By combining a market investment and market asset conceptualization ofinvestments in networks with a resource interaction approach, this paper provides an enhancedunderstanding of resource interfaces as market assets. Theoretical implications for our understandingof resource interfaces–its value and character–are discussed.

  • 5.
    Prenkert, Frans
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Understanding business networks from a mixed network and system ontology position: A review of the research field2017In: The IMP Journal, ISSN 2059-1403, E-ISSN 0809-7259, Vol. 11, no 2, p. 301-326Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to highlight the ontological implications of combining network and system ontology to conceptualize industrial networks as the empirical manifestations of complex adaptive economic systems.

    Design/methodology/approach: This paper contributes with a systematic discussion on how network and system ontology can be combined to produce better understandings of business networks. It also provides a review of the state-of-the art research literature on the topic as a starting point for the discussion.

    Findings: Findings indicate that networks may be enclosed in each other constituting sub-and supra-networks comprising increasing complexity. In these cases, sub-networks that are black-boxed can be seen as entities in themselves producing inputs and outputs to the supra-network. Networks, once they become black-boxed, can assume the functions of generative mechanisms within a wider supra-network.

    Research limitations/implications: This research is conceptual in nature and needs to be complemented with empirical research. In addition, the literature review used one database complemented with papers from the IMP journal. A wider search could reveal additional research that can be of relevance for the development of the field.

    Originality/value: This paper addresses the ontological and methodological issues arising from a mixed system and network ontology. These issues are commonly ignored or dealt with indirectly in extant literature. For any accumulation of knowledge in the field to be possible, the explication of a mixed ontology is important as it have conceptual and methodological consequences. Adopting such a mixed ontological position provides an ontology in line with empirical research of business practice.

  • 6.
    Öberg, Christina
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Let’s talk about innovation: Is there a hidden potential of knowledge exchange between open innovation and IMP?2016In: The IMP Journal, ISSN 2059-1403, E-ISSN 0809-7259, Vol. 10, no 3, p. 540-560Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: IMP researchers have shown interest in how innovations result from interaction among companies, while, and in parallel, there has been an increased focus on open innovation (OI) during the past decade. OI depicts how companies source, spin-out, and collaborate on innovation. This paper describes and discusses whether and how IMP and OI researchers acknowledge and build on each other’s work; and whether and how ideas provided by IMP and OI, respectively, create a fit to expand the exchange of knowledge between IMP and OI.

    Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on a citation analysis focussing on whether the OI literature refers to IMP research, and whether or not the IMP literature refers to OI research. The paper also compares OI and IMP to discover potentials for knowledge exchange between them through discussing similarities, complementarities, and contradictions.

    Findings: The paper points out that while IMP researchers have started to show interest in OI, OI research does not refer to IMP. As such, OI research remains more company-centric in its discussions. IMP provides tools and models to capture the OI phenomenon specifically related to collaborative OI, while OI offers interesting thought for the capture of transaction-based innovation processes and their management.

    Originality/value: The paper contributes to previous research through linking together OI and IMP research. This is important for several reasons, including the ability to enhance knowledge in each domain, critically discuss and relate various research domains and their underpinnings, and expand ideas developed in one research domain to another.

  • 7.
    Öberg, Christina
    Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
    Network effects of upstream acquisitions of innovative firms2012In: The IMP Journal, ISSN 2059-1403, E-ISSN 0809-7259, Vol. 6, no 1, p. 52-68Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper explores the network effects that occur when innovative firms are acquired upstream. Network effects here refer tochanges in and of the innovative firm’s relationships with external parties such as customers, suppliers, and venture firms. Thepaper is based on case study research from six innovative firms that were acquired by other companies. It links network effectsto changes on the level of the innovative firm. The network effects of upstream acquisitions form a complex, interrelatedpattern of drivers and consequences. Two loops of effects appear: one positive, which describes how credibility and improvedfinances lead to new relationships and additionally improved finances. The other is negative, and refers to the firm’s decreasedinnovativeness, distanced or dissolved relationships, loss of staff, transformation into a competitor in the eyes of formercustomers, and increased formalisation, along with the acquirer’s lack of interest in the firm’s future. For innovative firms, theimpact of effects are more severe if the innovation is in its early phases of development, while the degree of integration doesnot seem to have a significant impact on the severity of the effects. This paper contributes to business network studies throughits focus on the network effects of acquisitions, through pointing to how various effects interrelate with and strengthenone another in positive and negative loops, and through indicating how external parties reinforce those effects previouslydescribed in the literature on acquisitions of innovative firms.

  • 8.
    Öberg, Christina
    Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
    Strategic reversal: The network as reason, means and end2014In: The IMP Journal, ISSN 2059-1403, E-ISSN 0809-7259, Vol. 8, no 2, p. 74-83Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    AbstractThis paper describes and discusses strategic reversal in a network context. Strategic reversal here refers to how a company implementsa strategy and, with a lapse of time, decides to undo that strategic change. The paper discusses strategic reversal in terms ofbeing: (i) driven by the network or changes therein; (ii) using the network to accomplish the reversal; and (iii) affecting networkparties. It contrasts this with the initial strategy, and discusses the initial strategy and reversal in terms of company-centric andnetwork-driven strategy. Two case studies illustrate this. The paper concludes that the reversal may be company-centric to as high anextent as the initial strategy. The reversal is not complete in the sense that it does not bring the parties, or their network connections,back to what they were before the initial strategy. For the firms reversing their strategies, new parties need to be invited to direct relationships,while present network parties may inhibit the reversal. These findings contribute to previous research through describingpost-implementation reversal of strategy, and relate it to the network in its formulation, implementation and as affecting its outcome.

  • 9.
    Öberg, Christina
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business. The Ratio Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
    The dynamics of proximity in multiple-party innovation processes2018In: The IMP Journal, ISSN 2059-1403, E-ISSN 0809-7259, Vol. 12, no 2, p. 296-312Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: Proximity - that is, the closeness of parties - has been increasingly emphasized in studies on innovation networks. The idea of closeness has been discussed in relation to geographic proximity, and has also been referred to as knowledge overlaps and shared understandings between parties. In most of the studies dealing with proximity in relation to innovation networks, a static analysis is pursued. Such an analysis marks how the closeness or distance, often with the conclusion that parties should not be too close or too distant, is measured against innovation outcome at a specific point in time. However, innovation processes would include how parties increasingly converge in their knowledge and understanding, and how they may co-locate their businesses. The purpose of this paper is to discuss proximity in relation to multiple-party innovation processes and their development over time.

    Design/methodology/approach: The empirical part of this paper consists of a single case study on an innovation community and its development process. The development of the innovation community over time, whether and how geographic, knowledge and cognitive proximity is affected, and the outcome in terms of number of innovations, their newness (incremental or radical innovation), and variety are discussed in the paper.

    Findings: Findings indicate how geographic proximity leads to more knowledge overlaps, while it is not a prerequisite for it. Rather, it is in the commitment processes partly connected to cognitive proximity that knowledge increasingly converges, indifferent to the co-location of parties. The speed of such processes, however, is higher if parties co-locate. The commitment processes lead to an increased number of innovations, while these innovations become more and more similar. To avoid increased overlaps of knowledge and thereby maintain the production of a variety of innovations, interaction needs to occur through the introduction of new parties and the termination of previous interaction patterns. This, however, occurs at the cost of commitment, and the knowledge thereby becomes less developed and used in its capacities.

    Originality/value: The paper contributes to previous research through discussing proximity in innovation networks in a processual manner. The link between various proximities and their effect on innovation outcome sheds light on how proximity, as discussed in various literature streams, often relates to similar issues that converge around the issue of commitment.

  • 10.
    Öberg, Christina
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Graham, Gary
    Business School, Leeds University, Leeds, UK.
    Hennelly, Patrick
    Leeds University, Leeds, United Kingdom.
    Smart cities: A literature review and business network approach discussion on the management of organisations2017In: The IMP Journal, ISSN 2059-1403, E-ISSN 0809-7259, Vol. 11, no 3, p. 468-484Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The smart city idea refers to new ways of organising city functions and urban life, which are believed to move production and consumption from global to local, manufacturing from competitive to collaborative, and business from a shareholder to a multiple-stakeholder point of view. Most previous research has focused on the societal level of smart cities, while less seems to be known about the management of business as part of smart cities. This paper presents a literature review on the state of the art of management research on smart cities. The following research question is addressed: How has previous research captured the management of organisations in smart cities?

    Design/methodology/approach: A literature review using the search term “smart city/cities” in research on business, management and operational management was conducted for the purpose of capturing previous research. Findings were coded based on main ideas, central concepts and theories, thematic content of the articles related to the main ideas underpinning smart cities (digitalization, urbanization, and sustainability as antecedents, and local, collaborative and multiple-stakeholder manufacturing as indicators), and units of analysis.

    Findings: The paper points to how most studies on the management of organisations as part of smart cities focus on sustainability and how digitalisation enables new businesses. Collaborative efforts are emphasised and the theoretical framing is fragmented. Issues related to the organising of business is also not problematised and the business network approach could, as discussed in the paper, provide valuable insights related to the collaborative efforts of organisations and the multiple-stakeholder perspective.

    Originality/value: The paper is the first to capture and present an overview of previous research on the management of business as part of smart cities. Research on smart cities has focused on the policy and societal levels, and so far there is a lack of problematisation on how organisations may act, and potentially change their way of acting, should smart cities become a reality.

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