Research into the relationship of UK exporting manufacturers and their West German agents and distributors is examined. The mail questionnaire was the selected research instrument. Four participant dimensions were used in the evaluation and categorisation of relationship states. These were performance; experience; uncertainty and satisfaction. Relationships were found to be in one of five possible states of development: new; growing; troubled; static; or declining. Few firms were found in the new category; the largest state was that of growing. Once in the growing state, firms may move eventually into one of the remaining categories over time. The troubled state was categorised by high levels of conflict, uncertainty and dissatisfaction. The static state consisted of firms with static sales. The declining state consisted of firms whose sales were declining but the relationship was profitable and worth continuing.
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