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An entrepreneurial relationship marketing approach to B2B selling: The case for intellectual capital sharing

Donald P. Addison II (McColl School of Business, Queens University of Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA)
Tony Lingham (Department of Organization, Behavior and Leadership, Antioch University, Yellow Springs, Ohio, USA)
Can Uslay (Department of Marketing, Rutgers Business School, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA)
Olivia F. Lee (INTI International University and College, Subang Jaya, Malaysia)

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1471-5201

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to examine the entrepreneurial practice of intellectual capital sharing (ICS) with client organizations and assess its potential for collaborative business-to-business (B2B) relationship building. B2B collaborations within the traditional marketing paradigm are restricted due to perceived opportunism.


The research is based on the grounded theory approach and involves 22 semi-structured interviews with the employees of a focal organization and its five client organizations regarding 36 implemented projects. Interviews were transcribed, coded and analyzed via constant comparison to surface codes, categories, concepts and themes from which the authors developed propositions based on the particular context of this study.


ICS approach helps customers to reconstruct sellers’ identity from one characterized by opportunism and arm’s length relationships to one defined by openness and collaboration. Identified benefits of ICS include higher trust, commitment, social bonding, value co-creation, individual and organizational performance and learning. Eight propositions and a model of ICS consequences are presented.

Research limitations/implications

The context of the study is limited to a single industry – financial services – however, the findings should be highly relevant for other sales contexts characterized by low buyer trust.

Practical implications

Entrepreneurial marketers can engage in ICS approach quickly at minimal cost, as the capabilities and talent are typically already internal to the organization.


This paper examines a unique relational approach to serving clients called ICS that de-emphasizes the sale. Subject matter experts help buyers overcome challenges outside the scope of the traditional marketing paradigm.



Addison, D.P., Lingham, T., Uslay, C. and Lee, O.F. (2017), "An entrepreneurial relationship marketing approach to B2B selling: The case for intellectual capital sharing", Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 2-25.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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