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Integrating reciprocity into a social exchange model of inter-firm B2B relationships

Kevin E. Voss (School of Marketing and International Business, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA)
Emily C. Tanner (College of Business and Economics, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)
Mayoor Mohan (Department of Marketing, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA)
Yong-Ki Lee (Business Administration, Sejong University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Hong Keun Kim (Graduate School of Venture, Hoseo University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 6 August 2019

Issue publication date: 21 October 2019



Reciprocity has traditionally been overlooked in social exchange models of inter-firm relationships. Therefore, this research integrates reciprocity and its antecedents into a social exchange model of inter-firm relationships.


The authors collected primary data from a sample of firms in the Republic of Korea using a questionnaire. They also used covariance-based structural equations modeling to fit the model given the proposed conceptualization.


Both conceptually and empirically, adding reciprocity and its antecedents to the social exchange model produce results that differ from previously published papers. Specifically, reciprocity affects information exchanged indirectly through both credibility and benevolence trust. In addition, the effect of information exchange mediates the effect of trust on calculative and affective commitment.

Research limitations/implications

The foundation of long-term inter-firm relationships is quality information exchange, which is based on the development of credibility and benevolence trust, which in turn is based on reciprocity. Thus, reciprocity is a key variable in relationship development.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this paper is among the first to combine reciprocity and its antecedents into a social exchange model that contains trust and commitment. This model provides a bigger picture of how firms develop long-term relationships with their partner firms.



Voss, K.E., Tanner, E.C., Mohan, M., Lee, Y.-K. and Kim, H.K. (2019), "Integrating reciprocity into a social exchange model of inter-firm B2B relationships", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 8, pp. 1668-1680.



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