The IMP Group was originally formed in the mid 1970's, as a research project on "Industrial Marketing and Purchasing", by a group of researchers representing five European countries and universities; the Universities of Uppsala, Bath, UMIST, ESC Lyon and the Ludwig Maximilians University (Munich). A dynamic model of buyer-supplier relationships, was developed and used in comparative empirical studies of industrial marketing and purchasing within and across a number of European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and UK). A common experience from these early investigations of about 900 business relationships was that business exchange cannot be understood as a series of independent transactions but rather as complex relationships between buying and selling organisations, where value is created through interaction.
Today the IMP Group has evolved as an informal, international network of scholars who continue to approach marketing, purchasing, technological development and management from an interactive perspective, in a B2B and a B2C context. The IMP Group's contemporary work includes the business community, policy and science-technology-business issues.
The IMP Group represents a research tradition of empirically based studies on how companies do business and of what is created when businesses and other organizations interact. Scholars have investigated a wide variety of interactions between individual companies and organisations as well as the wider network that surrounds them. These empirical studies, including issues such as marketing, purchasing, technological development, management, logistics, business communities and policy, all challenge mainstream business theory and call for theoretical tools that allow investigations of the interactive aspects of the business landscape.
The IMP Group represents a dynamic approach to economic exchange. The first interaction model rested on the assumption that economic resources are heterogeneous and that their economic values are not given but created within buyer-seller interaction. Since this model was developed and used in the first IMP Group research project, ideas on the characteristics of business relationships and networks, on the processes within them and on how individual companies can operate in these arenas have been developed in further dynamic models of interaction in industrial networks.
The IMP Group generally meets at least one time every year at its annual conference. However, since 2002, a smaller group, IMP ASIA, has met, on average, every second year. Although IMP ASIA is a great deal smaller than the annual IMP conference in September, the smaller size provides a more relaxed, supportive atmosphere in which concepts and ideas can be freely exchanged and developed.
In keeping with the central theme of IMP ASIA, this conference continues to explore the notion that there are significant differences in the nature of the buyer-seller relationships in Asia with those in Europe, North America and Oceania, upon which the majority of the IMP Group theory has been built.