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Article
Publication date: 4 June 2020

Jens Ola Eklinder-Frick, Andrea Perna and Alexandra Waluszewski

The aim of this paper is to outline what the intended benefits the smart specialization strategy (S3) is meant to create, and through what policy measures; that is, to…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to outline what the intended benefits the smart specialization strategy (S3) is meant to create, and through what policy measures; that is, to shed light over what underpinnings S3 is based on, and if the measures based on these can affect the relations between “academia, businesses, and local authorities” – where the public and the private actors might have partly overlapping interests, but with different needs and rationales.

Design/methodology/approach

The research design of this paper is based on the industrial marketing and purchasing network approach, that is, the empirical observation that business exchange has a content, which affects and gives imprints on the actors engaged in the exchange. To determine whether the S3 strategy in general, and in the two investigated regions in particular, can affect the embedding of innovations in using, producing and developing settings, and if so how, this study applied the actors–resources–activities model. In addition to investigation of the S3 strategy in general, two case studies were conducted, one each in two European Union regions with rather different business and academic research characteristics: the Marche region in Italy and the Uppsala region in Sweden.

Findings

The S3 measures rest on the judgement of which “domains” to support can be made by policy actors without deeper analysis of how the assumed firms representing these domains are related in terms of how resources are combined and activated. Instead, the S3 policy analysis is based on local policy organizations desk table investigations of what appears as innovative. Hence, in practice, the key S3 measure is still to transfer knowledge from the public to the private sector. This entails that support in terms of how to create change in established resources interfaces, which is a main source of innovation to which both established and emerging localized firms are related, remains out of policy sight.

Originality/value

The ambition with this paper is to discuss what changes S3 – with the ambition to develop and match academic research to business needs – implies and what underpinnings it is resting on. Hence, the focus is directed to what new types of policy arrangements are supposed to result in what types of benefits – and last but not least, the ability for these to interfere with businesses which are interconnected across spatial borders.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 35 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 May 2018

Håkan Håkansson and Alexandra Waluszewski

The purpose of this paper is to argue that if the authors want to understand the role of heaviness, space and journey in innovation, the authors have to start with the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to argue that if the authors want to understand the role of heaviness, space and journey in innovation, the authors have to start with the interaction itself, that is the exchange process taking place between economic actors. Three major aspects will be considered: the first is that heaviness, space and journey imply restrictions, the second is that these aspects can be positively utilised in innovation processes, and the third is their joint importance to contemporary policy. All innovation processes must bypass and build on existing investments in social and material resources, related across time and space.

Design/methodology/approach

The theoretical foundation is a basic IMP observation: exchange has a content. Exchange is captured as an interaction process that creates specific imprints on material and social resources involved – across firm boundaries, and across time and space. The methodology is a consequence of the research question and the theoretical point of departure and is based on three earlier IMP studies, where heaviness has been measured in different ways. The authors utilize two earlier presented case studies to focus on the heaviness, space and journey dimensions.

Findings

Three main aspects are discussed: the first aspect concerns the need for utilisation of others heaviness in order for the innovation to gain heaviness in itself. The second aspect concerns the consequences that the search for heaviness has for the creation of an innovation space. The third aspect concerns the innovation journey; the specific interaction patterns between significant actors as well as places hosting heavy using, producing and developing activities created through interactions over time.

Research limitations/implications

In order to change or to establish a new economic exchange interface, there is an urgent need to be aware of and utilise heaviness, to find out in what way existing investments made in related interfaces can be taken advantage of. In order to do that, there is a need for a better understanding of the function of heaviness, spatial and journey aspects included.

Practical implications

In contemporary policy, certain heaviness is recognised, however, only in a non-business developing setting. The first conclusion is that heaviness of established producing and using settings is a policy blind spot. This implies that analytical policy approaches are not equipped for recognitions or of estimations of heaviness, nor as a hindrance or as a possibility in producing and using settings. The second conclusion is that the policy definition of the role of place implies neglecting the innovation space. The third conclusion is that there is a need for policy to recognise the innovation journey and its consequences.

Social implications

If the policy is expected to have regional effects, policy analysis has to start out from the established heaviness of the region and consider how it can be taken advantage of.

Originality/value

The paper draws attention to an aspect neglected in policy attempts to boost innovation, that the mobilising support has to come from actors representing heavy producing and using networks – and that these already have space and journey characteristics. A peripheral actor can come up with a suggestion for change – but it cannot alone mobilise the resources necessary for an innovation to get a space and journey in relation to established resource constellations.

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Alexandra Waluszewski, Enrico Baraldi and Andrea Perna

Contemporary innovation policy investments rests on the assumption that the main problematic interface is the one between the non-business developing setting and a rather…

Abstract

Purpose

Contemporary innovation policy investments rests on the assumption that the main problematic interface is the one between the non-business developing setting and a rather friction-free producer and user setting. Given a business landscape characterized by interdependencies, any innovation attempt will be faced with complex interfaces also within and among all these settings. The purpose of this paper is to shed light over this issue through the investigation of the interface between policy and a specific innovation journey. The attention is directed to the creation and distribution of social-material values; and the translation of these values into a monetary dimension.

Design/methodology/approach

To fulfill this aim the authors utilize an empirical study on the commercialization of university research results in the field of solar power technology, based on the ARA model as a conceptual and methodological foundation, with a focus on the establishment of resource combinations, activity links and actor bonds in the involved developing, producing and using settings. In order to pin-point the creation of social-material values and the establishment of a monetary dimension the authors used a model adapted from Håkansson and Olsen (2015).

Findings

From a national policy perspective, the transnational nature of innovation processes and the connectedness of resources across different, often far-away places, entail a loss of control on the social-material and monetary benefits of innovation; even more so if the policy of one country stands against that of another country. Still, not only policy but also representatives for academic research and business seem to consider the transnational aspect as an exception.

Research limitations/implications

Due to that the embedding in the user setting did not occur as expected; with the Swedish focal firm as main interface, but from a Chinese firm that the authors did not have access to, the main focus is on the developing and the producing setting, while the embedding in the user setting is covered through indirect information.

Practical implications

The role that established production structures have for the embedding of innovations into producing and using settings seems to be neglected in policy circles – although these have a strong impact on the creation of social-material value and a monetary flow.

Social implications

See practical implication.

Originality/value

The paper underlines the impact of interfaces with established production structures for the creation of social-material value and monetary flow – and for transnational dimension of the innovation journey.

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 June 2019

Alexandra Waluszewski, Hakan Hakansson and Ivan Snehota

One of the most salient contemporary societal trends is the increasing amount of public–private collaborations. In spite of the increasing awareness of the need to…

Abstract

Purpose

One of the most salient contemporary societal trends is the increasing amount of public–private collaborations. In spite of the increasing awareness of the need to scrutinise the promises of public–private partnership (PPP), there is an important but seldom-asked question: How does the assumed interaction pattern behind PPP correspond with the interaction pattern appearing in empirical studies of the content of business exchange? The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the discrepancy between the expected and actual pattern of interactions in PPPs.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a specific PPP concerning the construction of a Nya Karolinska (NKS) hospital building, which ended up as an economic and functional disaster. With an interactive approach as point of departure (Håkansson et al. 2009; Waluszewski, Håkansson, Snehota, 2017), this paper investigates a) the interaction pattern of the business landscape expected by policy/politicians in the NKS construction case and b) how the assumed interaction pattern appears in relation to the interaction pattern of the business landscape outlined in empirical studies of exchange, in the business landscape in general and of the construction setting in particular.

Findings

Given that the public side is neglecting the interactivity and interdependency of the private business setting, the disappointment with the NKS PPP project does not appear as an odd deviation. Rather, as a natural consequence of a public side expecting autonomous actors able to deliver innovation, quality and cost control just because they are exposed to competitive forces – but in reality interfacing with private actors which interests are directed to interdependent investments in place; own and related suppliers’.

Research limitations/implications

The investigation of the political expectations behind the NKS PPP case was concentrated on two types of data. Original reports expressing the political view of the interaction pattern of the private setting have been used. Four published studies focussing on different aspects of the NKS process, which discuss the political view of the private setting, was also used.

Practical implications

Be it private–private or public–private, to be beneficial for both sides of the exchange interface, both sides have to engage in the exchange – with representatives with knowledge and experiences of all direct and indirect related social and material resources that will be affected. The need to mobilise and involve representatives with extensive experiences of specific resource combinations of both sides of the exchange interface; the public as well as the private, does not disappear simply because it is assumed away.

Social implications

The competitive forces of the private setting are by politicians and policy assumed to function in an automatic way; breeding cost efficiency, quality and innovation. Furthermore, there is also an assumption of speed and ease of change. With the trust in these characteristic sof the private setting at hand, politicians have a “cart blanche” to withdraw from direct involvement in the creation of producer-user interfaces.

Originality/value

The paper underlines that as soon as the public-private exchange concerns goods that cannot be transformed to or treated as homogeneous ‘commodities’, as most often is the case of in this type of processes, there are reasons to be extremely careful in the design of the interaction interface. There are differences both in resource and activity structures between the two sides of the exchange interface and these differences have to be actively dealt with.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 34 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 26 July 2018

Jens Ola Eklinder-Frick, Andrea Perna and Alexandra Waluszewski

Previous IMP research has shown that innovation benefits tend to gravitate across organisational, company and legal borders. However, OECD and EU policy assume that…

Abstract

Purpose

Previous IMP research has shown that innovation benefits tend to gravitate across organisational, company and legal borders. However, OECD and EU policy assume that innovation investments will create benefits in close spatial relation to where these were made. The overall purpose of this paper is to consider how opportunities and obstacles of innovation appear from the perspective of: a national policy actor, its regional mediators and a policy supported and research-based firm engaged in innovation. A specific interest is directed to what interactive aspects that are considered by these actors; in the using, producing and developing settings.

Design/methodology/approach

Influenced by the research question and theoretical point of departure the authors investigate what type of interfaces our focal actors recognise in the using, producing and developing settings. A total of 41 face-to-face and phone interviews focusing on each actor’s approach were conducted; 23 interviews in order to investigate the “policy side” of innovation attempts, while 18 interviews have been performed in order to understand a single business actor’s innovation approach.

Findings

The study shows that both the national policy agency and the regional policy mediators primarily operate within a developing setting, and furthermore, applies a rather peculiar interpretation of proximity. As long as the developing setting of the innovation journey is in focus, with the task to transfer academic knowledge advances to commercial actors, the proximity aspect is rather easy to fulfil. However, as soon as the producing and using settings of the innovation is taken into consideration, the innovation, if it survives, will gravitate to a producing setting where it can contribute to investments in place.

Originality/value

The study investigates the opportunities and obstacles of innovation; the spatial aspects included, and how these are considered by: a national policy agency, a regional mediator and a policy-supported innovating firm, in order to juxtapose the policy doctrine with the experience of the business actors such policy wishes to support.

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 January 2019

Alexandra Waluszewski, Ivan Snehota and Antonella La Rocca

The purpose of this viewpoint paper is to summarise the key findings of the industrial marketing and purchasing (IMP) research – especially for those who are unaware or…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this viewpoint paper is to summarise the key findings of the industrial marketing and purchasing (IMP) research – especially for those who are unaware or unfamiliar with this research community – and above all, to point at some directions of development.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on IMP research studies.

Findings

The authors identify three avenues for further research. The first is related to the need for a sharper, more elaborated and nuanced pictures of the business world, which is in a state of continuous evolution. Second, to present research on business movements from new angles and elaborate sequences of effects and larger patterns of change, there is a need for methodological and conceptual development. The third avenue for further research concerns the provision of normative recommendations to business and policymakers on how to cope with, and make use of, interactivity and interdependences.

Originality/value

The authors outline the areas in which they currently see the greatest “need for better understanding”, aware of the limits in what they know.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 34 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 April 2020

Hakan Hakansson and Alexandra Waluszewski

The prestigious policy advisor, World Economic Forum (WEF), underlines that “governments, businesses and civil society organisations” must find “new ways of tackling the…

Abstract

Purpose

The prestigious policy advisor, World Economic Forum (WEF), underlines that “governments, businesses and civil society organisations” must find “new ways of tackling the systemic risks that affect us all”. Paradoxically, policy’s and politicians’ great trust in the basic forces of the business world is accompanied with a disinterest in how they are captured in analytical approaches. The purpose of this paper is to discuss what consequences different approaches to interaction present for policy attempts to use business forces to achieve change.

Design/methodology/approach

The discussion of theoretical approaches available for policy aiming to use the basic forces of business exchange for efficiency, innovation and industrial/societal renewal in specific directions is designed as follows: The authors identify two main choices of dimensions in the conceptualisation of business exchange, based on the acknowledgement of thin or thick interactions. The authors discuss how these are related to how interaction patterns appear in empirical studies of exchange. Based on the identification of conceptualisations and empirical findings, the authors discuss the ability for the public sphere to use the basic characteristics of business exchange to cope with societal challenges.

Findings

Research experiences on thick interaction and its consequences, that businesses and their input and output are interdependent, systemic and promote certain development paths, are largely ignored in approaches used in policy circles. Instead, policy advisors’ and policy commissioners’ understanding of business interaction patterns is coloured by mainstream economies assumption of thin interaction. The content and function of the market as depicted in this tradition are within EU, the basic foundation for legal regulations and limitations of businesses interaction patterns. Simply put, actors as well as the activities and resources that they are related to are approached as independent.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is focussed on the conceptual underpinnings of contemporary policy advices and commissions. This paper does not investigate deviations from these advices and commission made by policy practitioners on a local level

Practical implications

The message given by theoretical approaches recognising thick interaction is that the thicker it is, the more intervening, broader and more differentiated the policy tools and measures have to be. But that also puts high demands on policy actors on all levels to have both general and specific knowledge about thick interaction patterns. However, given the big challenges the society is facing, increased speed of change and, above all, increased influence over the direction of change are needed.

Social implications

WEF recognises the systemic features of the contemporary challenges to society with climate change in the foreground, and it stresses the need for finding new ways for public bodies and private businesses to cooperate to solve this. This implies the need to consider what theoretical approaches that should guide policy advice and measures. Hence, there is a need for the use of more sophisticated analytical approaches to the collective level, instead of those relying on that the interaction pattern of the business world is thin, straightforward and easy manageable.

Originality/value

This paper takes a novel approach to policy advice and policy commissions through focussing on what kind of theoretical concepts and approaches that actually are available for policy advisors and policy commissioners interested in using the basic forces of business exchange to increase efficiency and innovation in the public setting in general and furthermore to solve specific problems and to create new, specific development paths. Hence, both approaches adopted and neglected by policy are considered.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 35 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Alexandra Waluszewski and Ivan Snehota

Abstract

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 March 2019

Antonella La Rocca, Ivan Snehota and Alexandra Waluszewski

225

Abstract

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 34 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Content available
Article
Publication date: 22 November 2018

Antonella La Rocca, Ivan Snehota and Alexandra Waluszewski

Abstract

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

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