Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Relationships and Interaction

"The original International Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) project challenged both the structure and process of business. The challenge was to the idea of the business world as an atomistic structure of independent actors within markets. Instead, a structure of relationships between interdependent companies was suggested. The challenge to process was to the idea of independent action and David Ford, Håkan Håkansson's view of business was based on the interaction between these interdependent companies. The analysis in this paper suggests that the challenge to ideas on the structure of the business world has been partially accepted, but that the challenge to the idea of independent company action has not.

The paper suggests reasons for this difference in impact. It emphasises that many approaches to understanding and managing business relationships are based on the false idea that relationships are some kind of management technique that can be employed by managers at their discretion. The paper suggests instead that business relationships are an inevitable outcome from the nature of business and hence beyond the complete control of either participating company. The paper also suggests that an interaction view has profound implications for authors' view of the nature of business and business activity. The paper presents a detailed comparison of the differences between a world based on markets and action and one based on relationships and interaction. It concludes with the thought that increasing one's understanding of the nature of business interaction will be a prime task in the future for the IMP Group, for businesses researchers in general and for managers."

I would suggest that the idea that a company can 'control' is the failiure. The need for convergent values is the missing link in this thinking.


Title: IMP – some things achieved: much more to do
Author(s): David Ford, Håkan Håkansson
Journal: European Journal of Marketing
ISSN: 0309-0566
Year: 2006 Volume: 40 Issue: 3/4 Page: - 258
DOI: 10.1108/03090560610648039