The dynamics and characteristics of buying centre networks

Pentti Järvi (School of Business and Economics, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland)
Juha Munnukka (School of Business and Economics, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Publication date: 8 May 2009



The purpose of this paper is to study does the structure of buying centre networks dynamically change between buying situations and during the buying processes. Furthermore, the influence of organizational culture on participation, extensivity, lateral involvement, and vertical involvement of buying centre networks is studied.


A qualitative study with empirical data gathered by semi‐structured interviews with the help of structured questions among Finnish business organizations early in 2007. The empirical data consist of 40 interviews conducted among small and medium sized companies. For the data analyses, the data were separately classified into themes relevant for each of the topics analyzed. The structured questions were used for validating the findings of qualitative analyses.


The structure of buying centre networks was found to be highly dynamic and change significantly between buying situations and phases of the buying process. Five types of networks were identified: expert, inward‐oriented informal networks; extensive, specialist and inward‐oriented formal networks; extensive, outward and more management‐oriented co‐operative networks; specification‐oriented management and responsibility‐led co‐operative networks; and management‐led specialist‐oriented versatile networks. The results also suggest power distance, risk tolerance, and individualism/collectivism are useful measures for analysing the factors influencing the structure of buying centre networks and explaining differences between buying situations and stages of the buying process.


Change in the surrounding business and technology environment means that buying centre networks are forced to follow suit, in order to maintain competitiveness and the efficiency of their buying operations. While cultural differences are commonly known to influence organizational behaviour, the effects of the organizational culture on buying centre network structures have not sufficiently been studied.



Järvi, P. and Munnukka, J. (2009), "The dynamics and characteristics of buying centre networks", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 439-457.

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