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Article
Publication date: 12 March 2018

Poul Andersen, Elsebeth Holmen and Ann-Charlott Pedersen

Networks and relationships are not stable. On the contrary, they change and are transformed by the actors who take part in them. Change and transformation result from the…

Abstract

Purpose

Networks and relationships are not stable. On the contrary, they change and are transformed by the actors who take part in them. Change and transformation result from the actions and reactions of these actors. However, a key issue is what makes the actors choose some actions and reactions while refraining from others. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors argue that the actors’ expectations to the future of the network are formative for the actions and reactions and, furthermore, that the future expectations are formed by interaction among the actors that take part in the networks.

Findings

The authors depart from the existing foresight literature, but realign its ideas to fit with the core tenets of the IMP approach. Thereby, the purpose is twofold: to explore and conceptualize network foresight phenomena as well as to contribute to the practice of collective foresighting in business networks.

Research limitations/implications

The authors suggest research into formations of expectations in networks with a specific view to the interactive and structural effects of networks. Furthermore, the authors suggest a framework for categorizing network episodes and linking these to the formation of recognized issues and solutions.

Practical implications

The authors provide a framework for analyzing the focus of business networks in terms of solutions and issues, and analytically breaking down the interaction among these.

Originality/value

The authors introduce the concept of business network foresight, both as a distinct concept that enables us to understand change and transformation in networks, but also as a procedure for supporting actors’ strategizing efforts in business networks.

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

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Article
Publication date: 16 October 2019

Leandro D.B. dos Santos, Elsebeth Holmen and Ann-Charlott Pedersen

The purpose of this paper is to discuss key elements of lean supply (LS) in light of core concepts in the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group (IMP) perspective.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss key elements of lean supply (LS) in light of core concepts in the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group (IMP) perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the authors examine the literature on LS and identify and discuss important characteristics and key elements of LS. Second, the authors present key concepts in the IMP Perspective, in particular the dyad versus network levels, and the ARA model, capturing activities, resources, and actors. Third, the authors cross-fertilize the concepts from these two streams of research.

Findings

The authors identify 12 key LS elements. Relating these to core IMP frameworks, they identify areas of LS that can be expanded. First, the authors found that key elements in LS mainly focus on the dyadic level and that the network level is addressed to a much lesser extent and primarily captures serial “chain” connections among relationships. Second, it was found that key elements in LS predominantly focus on the activity layer and pay much less attention to resources and actors.

Research limitations/implications

The authors suggest that LS theory and practice can benefit from taking a network perspective, and by paying more attention to resource and actor concepts and issues. The study is purely theoretical.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no previous studies combine LS and the IMP perspective. The authors add to LS by elaborating how 12 key elements in LS can be expanded.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 35 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 4 August 2021

Daria Kovalevskaya, Elsebeth Holmen, Aristidis Kaloudis and Ann-Charlott Pedersen

This paper aims to develop the existing theoretical concept of a triad by informing it with the activity-resource-actor (ARA) model in a new empirical context of lean…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to develop the existing theoretical concept of a triad by informing it with the activity-resource-actor (ARA) model in a new empirical context of lean management (LM).

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual paper draws on the industrial marketing and purchasing (IMP) school of thought and the ARA model as theoretical lenses to inform research on triads in an LM context.

Findings

The authors find that closed buyer-supplier-supplier (BSS) and buyer-supplier-logistics service provider (BSL) triads, which we call “lean triads,” had a positive impact on LM. The authors display the drivers for closure – LM improvements (Table 2) and the properties of these “lean triads” (Figure 3).

Research limitations/implications

The paper focuses only on closed triads and is based on previous empirical studies.

Practical implications

The authors demonstrate to lean managers the drivers for connecting their partners in BSS and BSL triads and show the importance of developing relationships on three layers between all three actors in both triads to improve a firm’s lean performance.

Originality/value

The authors contribute to the discussion within the IMP school of thought on the value of triads by enriching the understanding of a triad concept with the ARA model, which compounds a concept of a multilayered triad in an LM context.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2017

Malena Ingemansson Havenvid, Elsebeth Holmen, Åse Linné and Ann-Charlott Pedersen

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship continuity across projects among actors in the construction industry, and to discuss why and how such…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship continuity across projects among actors in the construction industry, and to discuss why and how such continuity takes place.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on the results from four in-depth case studies illustrating different strategies for pursuing relationship continuity. The results are analysed and discussed in light of the oft-mentioned strategies suggested by Mintzberg (1987): emergent, deliberate and deliberately emergent strategies. Furthermore, the ARA-model is used to discuss why the relationship continuity strategies are pursued, and which factors might enable and constrain the relationship continuity.

Findings

The main findings are twofold. First, the authors found that the strategy applied for pursuing relationship continuity may, in one-time period, contain one type of strategy or a mix of strategy types. Second, the type of strategy may evolve over time, from one type of strategy being more pronounced in one period, to other strategies being more pronounced in later periods. The strategies applied by construction firms and their counterparts can thus contain elements of emergent, deliberate and deliberately emergent strategies, in varying degrees over time. It is also shown that the strategies of the involved actors co-evolve as a result of interaction. Also, the main reasons for pursuing continuity appear to lie in the re-use and development of important resources and activities across projects to create efficiency and the possibility to develop mutual orientation, commitment and trust over time, and thus reduce uncertainty.

Research limitations/implications

Further empirical studies are needed to support the findings. For managers, the main implication is that relationship continuity can arise as part of an emerging interaction pattern between firms or as part of a planned strategy, but that elements of both might be needed to sustain it.

Originality/value

The authors combine Mintzberg’s strategy concepts with the ARA-model to bring new light to the widely debated issue of discontinuity and fragmentation in the construction industry.

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

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Article
Publication date: 24 September 2018

Pilar Ester Arroyo, Elsebeth Holmen and Luitzen De Boer

This paper aims to deliberate about the problem of tight and seamless integration in a supply chain by conceptualising and understanding how looseness and its creation…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to deliberate about the problem of tight and seamless integration in a supply chain by conceptualising and understanding how looseness and its creation represent an effective supply chain design.

Design/methodology/approach

This research is grounded in system theory and industrial network research, while the case study of a textile and garment supply network coordinated by a third party in Mexico empirically illustrates how looseness in the supply chain may be created. The information gathered through in-depth interviews with critical informants at Aztex and three of their suppliers, visits in situ and secondary information, was organised with the template analysis technique and interpreted from three different but complementary perspectives, system theory, supply chain coordination modes and industrial networks, to establish the particularities of the triad model.

Findings

The study shows that supply chain integration may take place in a variety of forms, and that new theoretical perspectives are required to understand how the looseness in the connections among actors contributes to the flexibility and efficiency of the chain. Additionally, the analysis of the case puts forward the trader’s crucial role as linking pin between suppliers and customers in the specific context of the garment sector.

Research limitations/implications

Additional cases and triangulation of information from traders, suppliers and customers would contribute to explore in more detail how integration takes place not only in the textile and garment industry sector but also in other industries.

Practical implications

A rational explanation of why establish full integration across several tiers of suppliers and customers is too difficult to attain is given to managers. They may recognise that tight couplings will be necessary and possible only with strategic counterparts; meanwhile, others are more suitable to be delegated to a third party.

Social implications

The economic and industrial stability and progress of low-cost sourcing countries depends on the selection of international purchasers. The advancement of triangle manufacturing facilitated by a trader may become another criterion to drive the selection towards a region. In the case of Mexico, this adds to the near sourcing advantages of the country.

Originality/value

The research confirms that there is no unique global mode of supplier integration and suggests that different approaches are viable as long as the objectives of operational efficiency, good customer service and flexibility are satisfied.

Details

Journal of Global Operations and Strategic Sourcing, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5364

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2003

Christine E. Storer, Elsebeth Holmen and Ann‐Charlott Pedersen

The importance of a market orientation as the basis for meeting customer expectations is well known in marketing. In applying this concept to networks or netchains, the…

Abstract

The importance of a market orientation as the basis for meeting customer expectations is well known in marketing. In applying this concept to networks or netchains, the concept “customer horizon” is proposed to measure the ability to name or identify downstream customers and their requirements. A case study of five organizations in a netchain is examined to determine each company's customer horizon in terms of “breadth” and “length”. Based on the findings, it is suggested that companies can choose between alternative configurations of customer horizons. It is argued that it may be important to watch out for narrow and short customer horizons – especially when customer satisfaction is low, end consumer requirements are changing and/or these changes are not being communicated upstream to suppliers.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 8 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

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Article
Publication date: 17 April 2007

Elsebeth Holmen, Ann‐Charlott Pedersen and Nikolai Jansen

While numerous articles have stressed the importance of developing and maintaining supply networks, there is still a dearth of studies that address how supply networks…

Abstract

Purpose

While numerous articles have stressed the importance of developing and maintaining supply networks, there is still a dearth of studies that address how supply networks arise and change over time. The purpose of this article is to describe and conceptualise how a firm initiates the development of a supply network, and how the structure of the firm's supply network and supply base change over time as a consequence of the type and duration of initiative taken?

Design/methodology/approach

Empirically, the article is based on a longitudinal, single case study, which is real‐time, theory‐led and contextual. The case study concerns the efforts of a main contractor (within the construction industry) who changed its sourcing strategy, initiated the development of a supply network, and restructured part of its supply base. Theoretically, the article reviews both supply base and supply network management literature, highlights important issues related to both concepts, and discusses similarities and differences between them.

Findings

It is possible to discern between supply network initiatives of more permanent versus more temporary character. Supply network initiatives of a more permanent character comprise the establishment of, for example, organisational structures, functions, manuals and (explicit) routines aimed at continually supporting the maintenance of the supply network. Supply network initiatives of a more temporary character are organised as projects and aim to set in motion a process that may result in the creation of a supply network which develops over time without institutionalised network support structures. A single temporary supply network initiative is useful to consider in relation to the pre‐initiative stage, the ongoing initiative stage and the post‐initiative stage of the initiative. Furthermore, supply networks may be managed through an emergent series of temporary supply network initiatives aimed at supporting the supply network as it emerges over time in a changing context.

Practical implications

Managers may benefit from considering whether a supply network initiative is of a more permanent or a more temporary nature. If it is of a more temporary character, managers may consider analysing the initiative in its pre‐initiative, ongoing initiative, and post‐initiative stages in order to reflect on and learn from the initiative. Furthermore, if the initiative is temporary but form part of a planned or an emerging sequence of initiatives, managers may search for and consider earlier initiatives which may be viewed as “experiments” in a emerging trial‐and‐error learning process aimed at managing supply networks.

Originality/value

The article illustrates how a temporary supply network initiative can be used as a means to instigate reform of a supply base.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2015

Caroline Cheng and Elsebeth Holmen

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…

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.

Content available
Article
Publication date: 13 April 2015

Antonella La Rocca

Abstract

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

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Article
Publication date: 20 July 2012

Pilar Arroyo‐López, Elsebeth Holmen and Luitzen de Boer

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effects of supplier development programs on the short‐term performance of suppliers and the more long‐term development of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effects of supplier development programs on the short‐term performance of suppliers and the more long‐term development of their capabilities given the relational learning context of the dyad.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected through a survey of strategic suppliers from original equipment manufacturers of the automotive industry located in Mexico.

Findings

Results suggest that basic and widely used forms of supplier development hardly lead to improved operational and financial performance of suppliers. More demanding and less frequently used forms of supplier development may lead to improved supplier performance given the suppliers have sufficient absorptive capacity and the presence of an adequate collaborative and relational learning context.

Research limitations/implications

Only suppliers of firms in the automotive industry were surveyed; participant suppliers were referred by buying firms operating in Mexico.

Practical implications

When designing supplier development activities, buying firms need to take into consideration that high involvement and investment on supplier development activities is required when their goal is to improve the supplier base.

Social implications

Governments organizing supplier development programs should consider the importance of promoting knowledge transfer activities above evaluation and feedback to assure the success of their efforts to develop the national supply industry.

Originality/value

The value of supplier development programs is explored in this paper, taking into account the efforts of the buying firms to transfer knowledge and the moderating effect of the relational and learning context. Relevant recommendations for the design of such programs to buyers, suppliers and government are discussed.

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