Frontpage  About
Paper info: What happened with the grandiose plans? - Strategic plans and network realities in B2B interaction


What happened with the grandiose plans? - Strategic plans and network realities in B2B interaction


Christina Öberg
Linköping University
Christina Öberg and Staffan Brege

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 25th IMP-conference in Marseille, France in 2009.


Download paper
(90.9 kb)


 The importance of individual actors in business-to-business relationships has been widely acknowledged. Commonly these are referred to in a process-like manner related to division of work in organisational buying, or they are seen as carriers of values and interactions. In marketing, they are rarely described as representatives of various organisational levels. The purpose of the paper is to discuss business relationships on different organisational levels. We specifically target the strategic perspective of top managers vis-à-vis the operational level of a business relationship. We focus on illustrating the differences between these organisational levels in a dyadic relationship and how differences affect the realisation of intended strategies. We illustrate the strategic and operational levels of a business relationship through a single case study that describes the relationship between BT Industries and Volvo Group. We conclude that top managers had far-reaching plans of change that were not materialised as individuals on operational levels continued as previously. Both parties had quite clear views on the business partner's activities, but due to differences in perspectives, this fundamentally meant quite different understanding of the business relationship. The paper contributes to research on dyadic business relationships through highlighting differences in perspectives of actors on various organisational levels. It also contributes to research on organisations and hierarchies through including a business-relationship aspect. Managerially, the paper helps to understand why strategic plans are not always realised in business-to-business settings.