The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of relational competences, such as open-mindedness and the ability to adapt business style, in developing trustworthy relationships through communication in the export markets in different cultural contexts.
The analysis is performed on survey-based data from a sample consisting of 39.9 percent of the total population of Norwegian seafood companies involved in exporting, including 108 business relationships.
The findings reveal that adaptive business style and communication mediate the overall effect of open-mindedness on trust building between partners in the export markets. The adaptive business style fully explains the effect of open-mindedness on communication. Open-minded persons are better prepared to achieve communication on a high level because they are more likely to adapt to a new business style. Performing adaptive business style improves communication, particularly when the importer belongs to a dissimilar culture. For trust building, communication is equally important, irrespective of cultural differences.
Exporter should aim at recruiting open-minded people because they have the advantage that they are capable of performing a variety of negotiation styles and business approaches, depending on the situation.
This paper develops a model that integrates key constructs from the relational paradigm with constructs rooted in different research streams, extending our knowledge regarding salespeople competences that are important in order to develop business relationships in export markets.
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