Beautiful exit: how to leave your business partner

Kimmo Alajoutsijärvi (University of Oulu, Department of Economics, Finland)
Kristian Möller (Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration, Finland)
Jaana Tähtinen (University of Oulu, Department of Economics, Finland)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Publication date: 1 December 2000


Interorganisational buyer‐seller relationships have been primarily studied from the perspective of relationship development and the benefits accrued from relationships. There is a lack of research concerning problems with relationships and relationship dissolution. The dissolution of a business relationship can be either desirable, freeing badly deployed resources, as indicated by the customer portfolio approach, or harmful, involving costly legal disputes and the loss of company reputation. By employing a theory‐driven case study approach we examine the exit strategies available for the disengager in dissolving interorganisational buyer‐seller relationships. We show that the quality of dissolution is affected by the disengager’s choice of exit strategy. Managerial suggestions are provided for achieving “beautiful exits”, i.e. such communication strategies which minimise damages of the dissolution to the disengager, the other party, and the connected business network.



Alajoutsijärvi, K., Möller, K. and Tähtinen, J. (2000), "Beautiful exit: how to leave your business partner", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 11/12, pp. 1270-1290.

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Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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