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Two rebelling approaches but only one embraced by policy: On the different policy advices of NIS and IMP

Magnus Eklund (Department of Economic History, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden)
Alexandra Waluszewski (Department of Economic History, Science and Technology Studies Centre, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden)

IMP Journal

ISSN: 0809-7259

Article publication date: 16 October 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold, first, to shed light on the different patterns in which international marketing and purchasing (IMP) and national innovation system (NIS) were embedded into the Swedish policy context, where the first approach must be regarded as a relative failure and the second a success, second, to compare their analytical lenses and policy implications through the study of a number of seminal texts of the two approaches.

Design/methodology/approach

First, a Swedish case is selected since it provides an example of a policy context where both approaches have been considered and used as sources of inspiration for the design of policy measures. Second, the authors study a selection of the seminal texts of the two approaches in order to identify their basic theoretical assumptions. The emphasis here lies on how the schools view the importance of relations between companies, how they perceive the innovation process, their attitude towards the neoclassical market model and the explicit and implicit implications of their theoretical assumptions for policy.

Findings

IMP and its notion of the heterogeneity of resources can provide a much more context grounded analysis than is possible within the NIS/Lundvall framework. However, it requires deep contextual knowledge of individual companies, industries and national and international settings to understand the value of these resources. IMP is “tied to the ground” and radically critical of the atomistic abstractions characterising the neoclassical market view. NIS, on the other hand, requires contextual knowledge on a more superficial level and can co-exist with neoclassical economics.

Research limitations/implications

While the authors mainly focus on IMP and NIS, which date back to the 1980s, a later wave of concepts from the 1990s and onwards involve clusters (Porter, 1990), and triple helix (Etzkowitz and Leidesdorff, 1998). However, these latecomers share with NIS the ability to co-exist with neoclassical economics.

Practical implications

IMP requires high demands on any policy maker that would adopt it, in terms of acquiring deep contextual knowledge and giving up established views on how the economy works

Originality/value

The paper reveal that while both IMP and NIS like to present themselves as rebels radically departing from neoclassical economics and the linear model, NIS can still co-exist with neoclassical economics. Furthermore, IMP places high demands on any policy maker that would adopt it, in terms of acquiring deep contextual knowledge and giving up established views on how the economy works. NIS, on the other hand, requires contextual knowledge on a more superficial level.

Keywords

Citation

Eklund, M. and Waluszewski, A. (2017), "Two rebelling approaches but only one embraced by policy: On the different policy advices of NIS and IMP", IMP Journal, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 417-430. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMP-04-2016-0005

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited