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Seminal Works

Want to know more about the history of IMP? Briefly, the IMP Group was formed in the mid-1970s as a research project on "Industrial Marketing and Purchasing". This first IMP project involved researchers representing five European countries and universities: Uppsala, Bath, Manchester, ESC Lyon and the Ludwig Maximilians University (Munich). The results of this first IMP Group project were published in the books "Industrial Marketing and Purchasing of Goods" (Håkansson, ed., 1982), which can be downloaded from this webpage (see the link "Books"), and "Strategies for International Industrial Marketing" (Turnbull & Valla, eds., 1986).

A common finding from these early empirical investigations of about 900 business relationships was that business exchange cannot be understood as series of disembedded and independent transactions of some given resources. Instead it is as complex relationships between buying and selling organisations, whereby what is exchanged is created in interaction. One of the most well-known outputs was the ‘Interaction Model’ (see Håkansson, ed, 1982).

While the first IMP project focussed on single relationships, the second large international IMP project considered explicitly the connections between B2B relationships forming complex networks. That is, the interdependencies involved in networks, which is also referred to as interconnectedness. Business networks incorporate both direct and indirect relationships, which are underpinned by three layers of substance; activity, resource and actor. The Activity-Resource-Actor model, known also as “ARA”, was developed in this second IMP research project. Key sources from this project include “Developing Relationships in Business Networks” (Håkansson & Snehota, eds., 1995), which can be downloaded from this webpage (see the link "Books"), and “Managing Business Relationships” (Ford, Gadde, Håkansson & Snehota, 2003). A later book, “Business in Networks” (Håkansson, Ford, Gadde, Snehota, Walusewski, 2009) incorporated time and space explicitly into the ARA model.