Firms operate in complex networks of business relationships which link companies with each other. Thus, companies have to market their goods and services in an environment which they try to shape, but which also shapes them. Interdependence between firms is a key characteristic of such business networks.
The manchester Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Research Group (mIMP RG) researches such complex business relationships and networks. We are especially interested in understanding how managers make strategic marketing and purchasing decisions (i.e. how they operate within the 'network'), and how the interaction characteristics of business relationships shape the resulting actor bonds, activity links, and resource ties. As such, we investigate how business interactions and relationships are specific in terms of how they are enacted (space-determination), and how past experiences and expectations about the future impact upon them (time-determination).
As business networks are complex and 'messy', with strategic marketing becoming ever more enmeshed in manifold dependencies between actors, activities, and resource characteristics, the mIMP RG sees a specific focus of our research as being the understanding of how managers 'make-sense' of business relationships and networks, and how they amalgamate their 'network pictures' within a company to achieve a joint understanding. This also focuses on understanding the dynamics that take place within these relationships and seeks to explore the various dimensions that exist in such relationships and networks.
The mIMP group is closely related to the IMP group of researchers, an international group of researchers in interaction, relationships and networks, see www.impgroup.org for further details.
More information regarding our specific projects and topics.