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About

The IMP Group is an informal, international network of hundreds of scholars who approach marketing, purchasing, innovation, technological development and management from an interactive perspective, in a B2B and a B2C context. The IMP Group's current work also includes research on public-private networks, policy, and science-technology-business issues. Many of the IMP works are featured in the sections "Books", "Papers" and "The IMP Journal" on this webpage. The IMP Group stands for three main features: (1) a dynamic approach to economic exchange, (2) empirically driven research on inter-organizational interactions, and (3) an informal network of researchers forming a vibrant international community.

Firstly, the IMP Group represents a dynamic approach to economic exchange, which means that emphasis is placed on the interaction processes taking place within and between business actors forming business relationships over time. Business relationships are perceived as not only entailing economic dealings but also social, informational and technological exchange processes that affect and change the interacting actors over time. One important consequence is that IMP researchers view interaction, leading possibly to adaptations, as part of organisational learning and innovation processes. Business relationships are also seen as interconnected, i.e. events or changes in one business relationship will affect other related business relationships, both direct and indirect.

As such, the IMP perspective views firms as business actors embedded in business networks where they are interdependent on the resources and activities of a number of other actors. One important consequence is that individual firms and managers are dependent on specific counterparts in their strategies, i.e. how they formulate and carry out strategic practices. To conduct analysis of interaction in business relationships and networks, IMP researchers use a set of analytical tools, such as the Interaction model, the ARA model (Activity-Resource-Actor), and the 4R model (4 resources).

Secondly, the IMP Group represents a research tradition that places emphasis on empirically-based studies of how companies actually do business and of the various effects emerging when businesses and other organizations interact. Based on the assumption of interdependent business actors, a hallmark of IMP studies is that marketing, purchasing, technological development, innovation, strategic management and logistics need to be investigated within the context of specific business relationships and networks.

While the issue of interdependency between firms today is quite recognized, the understanding of the various effects and complexity of interdependency in business networks is still in its infancy. Not least due to the vastly changing business landscape of today. In an increasingly globalized and digitalized world, the evolving interactive business landscape calls for ways of understanding how interaction effects spread in globalized networks that in turn may be based on new business models. How do companies handle the current tensions between the local and the global, between economic, environmental and social goals, and accommodate with recurrent business trends? How are e.g. digital solutions, circular economy and design affecting the structure and organizing within and across organisations, and how do they contribute to resolving and/or worsening these tensions?

Thirdly, the IMP Group represents a large informal network of researchers (see the “Members” section of this webpage for details). The IMP Conference and the IMP Journal Seminar are important meeting places for researchers from all over the world, all sharing an interactive perspective on the business landscape. In 1984, the first IMP Conference was organised in Manchester, with some dozens of participants. Today, the IMP Conference is an annual meeting place for over two hundred researchers, who also interact in smaller constellations between the conferences. Since the early 2000s, the IMP Conference has been combined with a Doctoral Consortium, which brings together young and established IMP researchers. Since 2005 a biannual IMP Asia Conference has gathered smaller groups of researchers.