The purpose of this paper is to systematically review the relationship and networking strategy tools in the IMP literature. It proposes six dimensions for characterizing such tools: approach to tool development, level (and layer) of analysis, perspective of interaction, activities of network strategizing, external or internal orientation and use for “strategizing on” vs “strategizing in” relationships and networks.
The paper uses a manual qualitative content analysis approach and an inductive approach, well suited for extracting relationship and networking strategy tools due to their implicit and dispersed nature.
The paper presents an IMP toolbox comprising a wide variety of relationship and networking strategy tools emphasizing interconnectedness, interdependence and limited managerial autonomy, as well as an analysis of how identified tools are positioned along each of the six proposed dimensions.
This paper contributes a conceptual framework with a vocabulary to content analyze and discuss relationship and networking strategy tools in IMP research.
The IMP toolbox may be a useful point of departure for managers who feel a need for developing and using a mix of tools for strategizing in business relationships and networks.
The paper instills a strategy tool lens in the IMP literature and foregrounds strategizing concepts and techniques that were previously difficult to attend to for both researchers and practitioners.
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