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Article

Lars-Erik Gadde

The purpose of this paper is to examine the transformation of the perspective applied to distribution structures in the late 1900s. This change implied that the previous…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the transformation of the perspective applied to distribution structures in the late 1900s. This change implied that the previous focus on channel management by a channel captain was abandoned because of changes in the business reality. This perspective was replaced by models and concepts featuring collaboration and joint coordination between actors and relationships embedded in networks.

Design/methodology/approach

Changes of perspectives on phenomena are assumed to occur through the dynamic interplay between business reality, the conceptualisation of this reality and the managerial recommendations derived from this conceptualisation. The study is based on a thorough longitudinal literature review.

Findings

Shifts of perspectives occur when there is an increasing mismatch between the current business reality and mainstream conceptualisations. In this transformation, new constructs are required to illustrate new aspects of the business reality, exemplified in the study by interaction and networks. Some established concepts lose their significance, illustrated by the channel captain. Others may be re-interpreted, as is the case with the power concept. The study also shows that “forgotten” conceptualisations can be re-wakened, exemplified by the view of distribution structures as network constellations. In turn, these changes in the conceptualisation of distribution impact the managerial recommendations.

Originality/value

To the best of the author’s knowledge, there are no previous studies analysing how the perspective on a certain phenomenon changes through the dynamic interplay between business reality, conceptualisations and managerial recommendations.

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

Anna Dubois, Lars-Erik Gadde and Lars-Gunnar Mattsson

The purpose of the paper is to describe and analyse the evolution of the supplier base of a buying firm and the reasons behind these changes.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to describe and analyse the evolution of the supplier base of a buying firm and the reasons behind these changes.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a case study of the changes over 52 years in a sub-set of the supplier base of a firm manufacturing fork-lifts.

Findings

The study shows that some relationships feature substantial longevity. However, the duration of one-third of the total relationships is shorter than five years. There was considerable variation over time in the dynamics of the supplier base in terms of entries and exits of suppliers. Owing to this variation, research findings and conclusions in short-term studies are heavily dependent on the specific conditions at the time of the study. Finally, no less than one-fourth of the terminated supplier relationships were reactivated later.

Research limitations/implications

The study was designed in a time when purchasing was considered entirely from the perspective of the buying firm. Further studies, therefore, must increasingly emphasise the role of suppliers and the interaction in the buyer–supplier relationships, as well as the embeddedness in networks.

Originality/value

The findings of the study are unique in two ways. First, they are based on systematic observations over more than 50 years. Second, the study involves the purchases of 11 components representing different technical and economic features. The (few) previous studies are based on much shorter time periods and involves fewer suppliers/components. Moreover, the findings regarding re-activation of terminated relationships represent unique contributions.

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

Lars-Erik Gadde and Kajsa Hulthén

The purpose of this paper is to analyse how theories evolve within scientific fields: why they receive attention and why they eventually become less attractive.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse how theories evolve within scientific fields: why they receive attention and why they eventually become less attractive.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a literature review and focusses on the theoretical structure developed by Wroe Alderson. His contributions were highly appreciated and generally considered as “the” marketing theory. However, in few years his broad perspective was more or less neglected within the field where it was developed. At the same time, Alderson’s basic thinking was adopted by the evolving IMP approach. The specific objective of the study is to analyse why researchers in marketing abandoned Alderson, while IMP adopted many of his ideas.

Findings

The paper illustrates significant aspects of the evolution of theories. First, the paper shows how well-established conceptualisations, like Alderson’s total systems approach, may lose impact when the focus of research shifts. Alderson’s holistic framing was found too broad and all-encompassing to be useful when research attention was directed to specific aspects of marketing management and the socio-behavioural approach to distribution. Second, the paper shows in what respect IMP found support in concepts and models presented by Alderson in the challenging of fragmented mainstream framings of the business landscape.

Originality/value

This paper relates the rise and fall of Alderson’s concepts and frameworks to the evolution of theories of other schools-of-thought. Furthermore, the study shows how Alderson’s ideas were adapted to other research fields than where it was originally developed.

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

Keywords

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Article

Lars-Erik Gadde and Finn Wynstra

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of uncertainty in purchasing and supply management, and the changes of this role over time.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of uncertainty in purchasing and supply management, and the changes of this role over time.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a literature review of the development of purchasing and supply management over time and how these issues have been related to uncertainty and dependence. This examination also required analysis of the impact of other concepts from behavioral sciences: interdependence, power and control.

Findings

The paper shows that the relationship between purchasing management and uncertainty has changed substantially over time. Traditionally, uncertainty was avoided, while firms today are engaged in efforts of handling the consequences of uncertainty. This modification affected the features of buyer-supplier relationships, as well as the perspectives and the exploitation of power, control and dependence.

Originality/value

The paper demonstrates both positive and negative consequences of uncertainty, depending on the approach applied in purchasing. Moreover, the analysis shows that uncertainty cannot be avoided. Modifications of purchasing management will reduce certain types of uncertainty. But the same modification also results in increases of other forms of uncertainty.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article

Viktoria Sundquist, Kajsa Hulthén and Lars Erik Gadde

Partnering has been at the top of the management agenda in the construction industry for many years as a means of improving performance. Previous research shows that…

Abstract

Purpose

Partnering has been at the top of the management agenda in the construction industry for many years as a means of improving performance. Previous research shows that partnering has not reached the desired level of strategic partnering, but stopped at project partnering. The purpose of this paper is to provide an analytical framing for transformation from project partnering towards strategic partnering with suppliers.

Design/methodology/approach

The framework is based on two building blocks: a case study of a contractor involved in implementing strategic partnering with four of its suppliers and a literature review dealing with partnering in construction; and models for close and long-term buyer-supplier collaboration in other contexts.

Findings

Transformation towards strategic partnering should preferably be based on extension of project partnering in two dimensions: extension in time through relationship development with suppliers and extension in space through increasing network orientation across projects.

Practical implications

Succeeding with relationship development and network orientation requires contractors to abandon two significant aspects of established construction logic that serve as significant implementation barriers. Competitive bidding in single projects needs to be replaced by collaboration over series of projects. The decentralisation of authority to the project level needs to be supplemented with increasing centralised decision making.

Originality/value

Previous research showed that despite the considerable interest in partnering there is a lack of systematic theorizing of the phenomenon. This paper contributes to theoretical anchoring through the combining of the case study and the literature review in the abductive approach applied.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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Article

Håkan Håkansson and Lars-Erik Gadde

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the development of research based on the IMP approach during the four decades since the inauguration in 1976. The paper presents…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the development of research based on the IMP approach during the four decades since the inauguration in 1976. The paper presents a network analysis of IMP research based on one of the central IMP frameworks: the ARA model.

Design/methodology/approach

The main activity analysed is the annual IMP conference. The development over time is described by comparison of three conferences (1984, 1998 and 2012) with regard to the themes of the papers presented. In addition, some joint research projects are described. The most central resources are the research frameworks and findings presented in books and journals. To illustrate this dimension, the authors have traced all IMP publications that had been cited more than 100 times in 2013. In the actor layer, the authors investigated the development over time of the distribution of publications and conference presentations on research groups.

Findings

The paper shows how IMP has evolved into a research network around common themes of which business relationships and networks are the most significant. The activities of various research groups have become increasingly interlinked through joint research programmes, annual conferences and seminars, a website and a dedicated journal.

Originality/value

The paper provides a detailed illustration of the development of the IMP network. The description of this process is of general relevance as an example of how research ideas can develop and become established in terms of a distinct research network.

Details

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

Keywords

Abstract

Details

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

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Article

Lars‐Erik Gadde

Swedish interest in research on channels of distribution for industrial goods has been limited historically. The same is true in other countries as well, as has been…

Abstract

Swedish interest in research on channels of distribution for industrial goods has been limited historically. The same is true in other countries as well, as has been reported, for example, by Ford. In fact, this is tree for the field of industrial marketing in general. It is a little surprising that industrial markets have been so neglected. If economic values are considered, producer markets are dominant over consumer markets. According to Flodhammar and Nielsen, the turnover of the Swedish producer market is four times that of the consumer market. One reason for the slight research interest is that up to the 1970s many industries could be characterised as operating in a “seller's market’. Demand exceeded supply. No kind of modern marketing existed; it was only a question of selling.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Materials Management, vol. 13 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0269-8218

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Article

Luis Araujo, Lars-Erik Gadde and Anna Dubois

The purpose of this paper is to provide an historical account of the evolution of the purchasing and supply management (PSM) field from the perspective of resource…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an historical account of the evolution of the purchasing and supply management (PSM) field from the perspective of resource interfaces between buying firms and their suppliers. This historical account is then used as a platform to develop a framework for understanding of the capabilities required to manage a cluster of resource interfaces.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses an historical survey of practices and ideas in the PSM field to develop a theoretical argument on capabilities to manage resource interfaces between buying firms and their suppliers.

Findings

The paper proposes a framework linking learning, interactive capacity and interactive capability as they evolve through the interplay between resource interface type, organizing principle and technology strategy.

Research limitations/implications

This paper contributes a conceptual framework focussing on the capabilities that underpin the management of individual resource interfaces.

Practical implications

The paper offers the following practical implications: first, the firm needs to consider what type of interface applies in the relationships with its suppliers: second, the firm needs to consider its technological strategy in light of its current supplier interfaces and organizing principles: third, the internal as well as external organizing needs to be aligned with what the firm proposes to achieve from its supplier relationships and be congruent with the interfaces deployed to manage those relationships: fourth, interacting with suppliers is a matter of learning regarding the outcomes of the interaction as well developing interactive capacities and capabilities.

Originality/value

The paper provides a first attempt to go beyond the characterization of individual resource interfaces in buyer-supplier relationships, to look at the capabilities required to manage multiple resource interfaces and the dynamics underpinning paths of development for those capabilities.

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

Keywords

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Book part

Lars-Erik Gadde and Finn Wynstra

In a relationship both sides are important for the development. This is one reason why purchasing has always been as central as marketing in the empirical studies in IMP…

Abstract

In a relationship both sides are important for the development. This is one reason why purchasing has always been as central as marketing in the empirical studies in IMP. The manner in which the features of business networks affect the role of purchasing and the roles of the suppliers and supply management is here in focus. The existence and importance of business relationships have normative consequences for purchasing that are very distinct and break clearly with some of the traditional normative recommendations for purchasing. The authors believe that ‘buying organisations increasingly need to develop interactive interfaces with their suppliers. One reason is that collaborative innovation and therefore the development role of PSM (purchasing and supply management) is becoming more important’. The conclusion is clear: If the buying organisations want to get more out of the suppliers than the supply of a standard product at a certain price, they have to engage in a more extensive interaction and develop a broader and closer business relationship that must be properly managed. That implies giving up some autonomy and accepting dependence on suppliers as developmental partners.

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