Four decades of IMP research - the development of a research network
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2018

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.


Business relationships

Inter-organisational research



Hakan Hakansson

BI Norwegian Business School

Lars-Erik Gadde

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Supply and Operations Management


2059-1403 (ISSN) 0809-7259 (eISSN)

Vol. 12 6-36




Systemvetenskap, informationssystem och informatik med samhällsvetenskaplig inriktning