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Relationship and networking strategy tools: characterizing the IMP toolbox

Caroline Cheng (Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)
Elsebeth Holmen (Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)

IMP Journal

ISSN: 0809-7259

Article publication date: 6 July 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Research limitations/implications

This paper contributes a conceptual framework with a vocabulary to content analyze and discuss relationship and networking strategy tools in IMP research.

Practical implications

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.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Citation

Cheng, C. and Holmen, E. (2015), "Relationship and networking strategy tools: characterizing the IMP toolbox", IMP Journal, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 177-207. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMP-03-2015-0013

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited