The drama of interaction within business networks
We propose a dramaturgical approach to the understanding of business networks with particular reference to IMP research. Our purpose is to focus upon immeasurable processes and practices too often neglected by the tangible, variance modeling of business networks (Colville & Pye, 2010; Rinallo & Golfetto, 2006). This paper follows our call to take language and communication more seriously (Ellis, Lowe & Purchase, 2006). The inventive fluidity of communication, in the form of dramaturgy, when added to the rather more entitative IMP model of Actors, Resources and Activities (Håkansson & Snehota, 1995) creates a more processual, theatrical ‘scenario’ of Actor-Characters, Resource Props and Scripted Activities. We employ the dramaturgical approach of Goffman (1956, 1961) which, in keeping with the approach of the IMP Group is centrally attentive to social interaction. In order to illustrate the potential contribution of this approach, we apply this dramaturgical perspective to the interactions described in a published case study (Helander & Möller, 2007, 2008a, 2008b).