The bulk of research in international exchange has adopted an exporter perspective. In contrast, the work reported here incorporates the importer side of the dyad. The research used an extensive multiple case study design involving 36 exporter‐importer dyads operating across four countries. The main search criteria used by importers are identified along with those areas where the perception and performance of exporters were most at variance with those being used by the importers. Field research also pointed to a marked age‐related cyclical effect in dyad performance. In addition, the best performing dyads were those in which close relationships were maintained among the people on either side, an aspect that could have been more carefully managed by some of the exporters.
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