“Business-to-business marketing: Imagining something different”


Guest Editors

Associate Professor Ilkka Ojansivu, Oulu Business School, Oulu, Finland

Associate Professor Chris Medlin, Adelaide Business School, Adelaide, Australia

Professor Sharon Purchase, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

Business-to-business (B2B) marketing has an undeniable role in organizations and within the marketing discipline. As almost four decades of accumulating research has passed, we are now witnessing a critical re-evaluation of many of the taken-for-granted concepts and aspects of B2B marketing. Therefore, the time has come for B2B researchers to not accept existing B2B marketing phenomena but to imagine something different either through re-evaluation of existing concepts or developing new theories.

Researchers have revised core B2B marketing phenomena such as exchange (e.g., Dalsace and Jap, 2017), actors (e.g., Guercini et al., 2014; Medlin, 2012; La Rocca, 2013; La Rocca et al., 2015), emergence of networks (e.g., Cheng and Holmen, 2015; Järvensivu and Möller, 2009; Johnston et al., 2006; Schurr, 2007), contextuality (e.g., Elo et al., 2015; Ivanova-Gongne, 2015; Ivanova-Gongne and Törnroos, 2017; Ivanova and Torkkeli, 2013; Ojansivu and Medlin, 2018) and even the concept of a business relationship (Hadjikhani and LaPlaca, 2013; La Rocca, 2013). Recently, ontological and metatheoretical questions have come to fore too (Lowe and Tapachai, 2021; Ojansivu et al., 2020, 2022). This special issue invites work that continues to reimagine theory-driven as well as empirical research in B2B marketing.

We call for papers that dare to envision something different in terms of methods, theory and contexts. We intend to provoke passion and interest for B2B marketing researchers, and to inspire approaches that challenge established notions of what B2B marketing research should look like.

This special issue invites papers contributing to knowledge and practice related to business relationships, business networks, supply chain, distribution and retailing as well as their organizational and institutional context. Business-to-business interactions underlying these themes encompass many of the key challenges facing companies in an increasingly competitive environment. Contributions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Interactions and exchanges between businesses and business networks
  • Traditional and innovative aspects of supply chain
  • Distribution and retailing including ethics and corporate social responsibility issues

We welcome empirical (qualitative and quantitative) as well as conceptual research papers that contribute to a deeper and different understanding of business-to-business marketing.

How to submit your manuscript:

  • This special issue call for paper is affiliated with the ANZMAC 2021 B2B marketing track and the conference theme: imagining something different. However, we follow the policy that no call for paper should be open only to conference attendees. Therefore, anyone with a high-quality paper that fits the theme of the special issue is welcomed to submit their paper.
  • Any author/s may submit through the Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing submission system and will undergo a similar review process as regularly submitted papers. Submission for the Special Issue begin May 1, 2022, with the final deadline for submission being July 20, 2022.
  • Questions pertaining to the Special Issue should be sent to any of the Guest Editors.
  • Papers must be formatted in accordance with the Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing style sheet.
  • All papers will be double-blind refereed. Post-refereeing, the Guest Editors will propose a list of publishable papers for consideration by the Editors-in-Chief of the Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing – whose agreement will be required prior to notifying Authors of final acceptance.

Submission window:

Open Date: May 20th, 2022
Close Date: July 20th, 2022


Cheng, C. and Holmen, E. (2015), “Relationship and networking strategy tools: characterizing the IMP toolbox”, IMP Journal, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 177–207.

Dalsace, F. and Jap, S. (2017), “The friend or foe fallacy: Why your best customers may not need your friendship”, Business Horizons, Vol. 60 No. 4, pp. 483–493.

Elo, M., Benjowsky, C. and Nummela, N. (2015), “Intercultural competences and interaction schemes - four forces regulating dyadic encounters in international business”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 48, pp. 38–49.

Guercini, S., La Rocca, A., Runfola, A. and Snehota, I. (2014), “Interaction behaviors in business relationships and heuristics: Issues for management and research agenda”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 43 No. 6, pp. 929–937.

Hadjikhani, A. and LaPlaca, P. (2013), “Development of B2B marketing theory”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 294–305.

Ivanova-Gongne, M. (2015), “Culture in business relationship interaction: An individual perspective”, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, ublishing Ltd., Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 608–615.

Ivanova-Gongne, M. and Törnroos, J.Å. (2017), “Understanding cultural sensemaking of business interaction: A research model”, Scandinavian Journal of Management, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 102–112.

Ivanova, M. and Torkkeli, L. (2013), “Managerial sensemaking of interaction within business relationships: A cultural perspective”, European Management Journal, Vol. 31 No. 6, pp. 717–727.

Järvensivu, T. and Möller, K. (2009), “Metatheory of network management: A contingency perspective”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 38 No. 6, pp. 654–661.

Johnston, W.J., Peters, L.D. and Gassenheimer, J. (2006), “Questions about network dynamics: Characteristics, structures, and interactions”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 59 No. 8, pp. 945–954.

Lowe, S. and Tapachai, N. (2021), “Bourdieusian interaction: actors’ habitus, agentic activities and field resources”, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 36 No. 6, pp. 893–904.

Medlin, C.J. (2012), “Peter Drucker’s ontology: Understanding business relationships and networks”, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 27 No. 7, pp. 513–520.

Ojansivu, I., Hermes, J. and Laari-Salmela, S. (2020), “Business relationships in the industrial network literature: three approaches and their underlying assumptions.”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 87 No. May, pp. 181–195.

Ojansivu, I. and Medlin, C.J. (2018), “To whose drum are we marching? Change in business networks through a contextual logics perspective”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 70 No. April, pp. 141–155.

Ojansivu, I., Medlin, C.J., Andersen, P.H. and Kim, W. (2022), “Using a ‘lens’ to re-search business markets, relationships and networks: Tensions, challenges and possibilities”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 100, pp. 49–61.

La Rocca, A. (2013), “Approaching (Inter-) Actors in the Business Landscape”, IMP Journal, Vol. 7 No. 3.

La Rocca, A., Snehota, I. and Trabattoni, C. (2015), “Construction of meanings in business relationships and networks”, IMP Journal, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 163–176.

Schurr, P.H. (2007), “Buyer-seller relationship development episodes: Theories and methods”, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 161–170.