Using shaping-strategies to thrive in the age of disruption


Special issue of Industrial Marketing Management; Deadline 30 Sep 2020


Call for Papers

Using shaping-strategies to thrive in the age of disruption

Deadline for submission: September 30, 2020

Industrial Marketing Management announces the call for papers for a special issue on using shaping-strategies to thrive in the age of disruption.

Overview and Purpose of the special issue

The context in which firms attempt to create value is undergoing fundamental transformations, forcing firms to revise everything from their concept of what constitutes value and for whom, to their mission and strategy, to the operational practices that they engage in. The context is moving from being complicated to becoming increasingly complex (Snowden & Boone, 2007), driven both by globalization and the universal connectivity and liquification of resources enabled by digitalization (Lusch, Vargo, & Tanniru, 2010). Simultaneously, intrinsically complex and multi-disciplinary questions related to economic and social sustainability affects most areas of human activity, and become key consideration for all actors (Clayton & Radcliffe, 2018).

This novel context renders many of the traditional theoretical foundations for marketing and management obsolete. Examples of this are, for instance, the neoclassical conceptualization of markets as a given and deterministic context, exogenous to the firm (Mele, Pels, & Storbacka, 2015; Priem, Butler, & Li, 2013); the logic of sense-and-respond, i.e., analysing markets to find opportunities as a precursor to strategy (Alvarez & Barney, 2007); the firm-based and value-capture-centric view of value creation (Amit & Han, 2017), the reliance on prediction as a means to address market change (Wessel, 2015) and ideas such as value chain and organizational boundaries.

Contemporary firms progressively view the context as a malleable value-creating system (Nenonen et al., 2014), which consists of actors that contribute resources in collaborative processes, and which is governed by various actor-generated institutional arrangements (Vargo & Lusch, 2016). Firms are also increasingly realizing that the social and environmental conditions of the context in which they operate matters for long-term success. In these new contexts, success requires a system-based and value-creation-centric view (Amit & Han, 2017), focusing on value-creating strategies aiming for shared value (Porter & Kramer, 2011). An interesting indication of these developments of this is the US Business Roundtable, representing 181 of the world?s largest companies, who recently abandoned their view that corporations exist principally to serve their shareholders, and now argue: ?while each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders? (Wolf, 2019).

The implication of this new perspective on strategy is that the context cannot be seen as a precursor of strategy, but rather as an outcome of purposive and designed actions (Nenonen & Storbacka, 2018), thus inviting firms to engage in shaping-strategies (Gavetti, Helfat, & Marengo, 2017; Kindstr?m, Ottoson, & Carlborg, 2017; Nenonen, Storbacka & Windahl, 2019), which can lead to market innovations (Kjellberg, Azimont, & Reid, 2015; Vargo, Wieland, & Akaka, 2015).

In addition to the markets-as-networks view (Johanson & Vahlne, 2011), there have been many recent contributions in industrial marketing that relate to shaping-strategies, such as managing business and innovation networks (Aarikka-Stenroos & Ritala, 2017; M?ller & Halinen, 2017; Nordin, Ravald, M?ller and Mohr, 2018), network mobilization (Van Bockhaven & Matthyssens (2017), understanding space (T?rnroos, Halinen, & Medlin, 2017) and temporality (Araujo & Easton, 2012) in business networks, institutional boundary-work (Palmer, Medway, & Warnaby, 2017; Nenonen, Storbacka, & Frethey-Bentham, 2019), institutional maintenance (Palmer, Simmons, Robinson, & Fearne, 2015), shaping markets through use (Harrison & Kjellberg, 2016), network pictures (Ramos, Henneberg, & Naud?, 2012), constructing and contesting markets (Finch & Geiger, 2011); scripting markets (Storbacka & Nenonen, 2011), segmentation as market construction (Harrison & Kjellberg, 2010), marketization work (Mason, Friesl, & Ford, 2017) sense-making and agenda construction (M?ller, 2010), performativity of market practices (Kjellberg & Helgesson, 2006), actor engagement (Brodie et al., 2019; Kleinaltenkamp et al., 2019; Storbacka, 2019), and contagion and learning in networks (Peters, Pressey, & Johnston, 2017; Storbacka & Nenonen, 2015).

The above list is not conclusive, but it points to a central problem for marketing research: re-connecting to managerial practice. In a recent editorial, Lindgreen and Di Benedetto (2017, p. 1) argue that IMM aims to serve as a ?functional bridge between academic theory and practitioner applications, even as it maintains stringent standards for scientific rigor?. To do so in the context of shaping-strategies, we suggest a need for parsimony when it comes to explanations related to firms? possibilities to shape their context. Instead of us encrypting our insights into stilted prose, which fosters a culture that ?glorifies arcane unintelligibility while disdaining impact and audience? (Kristof, 2014), and creates protection against managerial consumption, we should create parsimonious explanations that creates a platform for managerial action (Nenonen et al., 2017).

Against this backdrop, this special issue calls for both conceptual and empirical papers that synthesize current research streams related to shaping-strategies or provide comprehensive and managerially applicable frameworks on the subject. Topics for submissions may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Improving system-wide sustainability with shaping-strategies
  • Platform business models as shaping-strategies
  • Orchestration of networks/ecosystems/strategic nets and shaping-strategies
  • Integrating corporate social responsibility and business strategy
  • Mobilizing actors in value creating systems
  • Capabilities for shaping-strategies
  • Shaping-strategies: Antecedents, elements and outcomes
  • Factors that create value in shaping strategies (technology / non-human actors, collective action / collaboration, timing / duration / role of time, power).
  • Empirical analysis of shaping processes
  • Patterns of shaping activities
  • The balance between design and emergence in executing shaping-strategies
  • Emergence and shaping-strategies
  • The role of collaborative strategies in shaping value creating systems
  • The dark side of shaping-strategies
  • Customer agency in shaping value creating systems
  • The role of actor engagement in shaping-strategies
  • How do customers engage in institutional work?

Preparation and submission of paper and review process

Papers submitted must not have been published, accepted for publication, or presently be under consideration for publication elsewhere. Submissions should be about 6,000-8,000 words in length. Copies should be uploaded on Industrial Marketing Management?s homepage through the EVISE system. You need to upload your paper using the dropdown box for the special issue on ?Using shaping-strategies to thrive in the age of disruption?. For guidelines, visit Papers not complying with the notes for contributors (cf., homepage) or poorly written will be desk rejected. Suitable papers will be subjected to a double-blind review; hence, authors must not identify themselves in the body of their paper. (Please do not submit a Word file with ?track changes? active or a PDF file.)

Please address all questions to the guest editor(s):

Kaj Storbacka, Professor, University of Auckland Business School, NZ,

Linda D. Peters, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham Business School, UK

Suvi Nenonen Professor, University of Auckland Business School, NZ,

Roderick J. Brodie, Professor, University of Auckland Business School, NZ


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Araujo, L., & Easton, G. (2012). Temporality in business networks: The role of narratives and management technologies. Industrial Marketing Management, 41(2), 312?318.

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