IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Social Networks of Researchers in Business To Business Marketing: A Case Study of the IMP Group 1984-1999




Science is a social process that functions through social networks of researchers that form invisible colleges. Analysis of these social networks provides a means for examining the structure of relations among researchers. The Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) group, "an informal international group of scholars concerned with developing concepts and knowledge in the field of business-to-business marketing and purchasing," is used as a case study of a network of researchers because it has been responsible for considerable research over the last decades in the area of business-to-business marketing, yet its structure remains hidden because of its informal network characteristics. The results of a social network analysis of the IMP group is described based on the pattern of co-authorship at annual IMP conferences. The results reveal a power law distribution of paper co-authorship and a small world network that conforms to the results of studies of other types of social networks. A core network of 57 researchers is identified and its network properties are described, including how it has evolved over time. The study provides the basis for further studies of the social networks of marketing and business researchers.

Suggested Citation

  • Piera Morlacchi & Ian F. Wilkinson & Louise Young, 2004. "Social Networks of Researchers in Business To Business Marketing: A Case Study of the IMP Group 1984-1999," SPRU Working Paper Series 116, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  • Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:116

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Melin, Goran, 2000. "Pragmatism and self-organization: Research collaboration on the individual level," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 31-40, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    informal networks; business-to-business marketing;

    JEL classification:

    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:116. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Russell Eke) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.