Guest editorial

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 12 June 2009



Pels, J. (2009), "Guest editorial", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 24 No. 5/6.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Guest editorial

Article Type: Guest editorial From: Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Volume 24, Issue 5/6

Jaqueline Pels is a Professor at the University Torcuato Di Tella’s Business School, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her research experience is in the areas of business-to-business marketing, relationship marketing, professional services and marketing theory. She has been chair of the Relationship Marketing Summit 2007 and of the AMA International Marketing Educators Conference 2000. Her publications have appeared in leading international journals including European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Journal of Relationship Marketing, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, Journal of Global Marketing amongst others. She is Latin America editor for Marketing Theory and for the Academy of Marketing Science Review and has served on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Marketing, Journal of International Marketing, Journal of Relationship Marketing, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing and Journal of Business in Developing Nations, amongst others. She can be contacted at:

It is a pleasure to write the editorial of this special issue of the Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing (JBIM). This special issue is an example of the excellence that can be achieved when scholars holding different views, diverse research traditions, and multiple philosophical paradigms meet with the aim of listening to each other.

In December 2007, the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (Buenos Aires, Argentina) hosted the first Relationship Marketing Summit under the insignia: “Time to integrate perspectives”. The RM Summit was the joint event of the two major conference series in the field: the AMA Relationship Marketing SIG Conference and the International Colloquium on Relationship Marketing (ICRM), its main goal was to integrate the diverse perspectives, approaches, paradigms in relationship marketing.

The task set out to accomplish had no precedent requiring an open mind in terms of developing a “new” format that allowed open dialogues as well as competitive paper presentations. This could not be the effort of a single person thus I want to thank the AMA Relationship Marketing SIG Conference Program Chairs: Professor Wesley Johnston, Professor Michael Kleinaltenkamp and Professor Jagdish Sheth, as well as ICRM Program Chairs: Professor David Ballantyne, Professor Roderick Brodie, Professor Helge Löblel, Prof. Adrian Payne and Prof. Michael Saren for their invaluable help.

I am pleased to say that we were up to the challenge! The Summit consisted of one and a half days of plenary panels, suggested by leading scholars in the discipline in Europe, in the United States and in Australasia, as well as one and a half days of paper sessions. Sixty papers were selected, out of 136 submissions – from all five continents – to be presented at the competitive sessions.

From the outset it was understood that such a valuable interchange should be kept as a unified body, thus giving birth to this double special issue. Two types of papers will be found: five invited submissions as well as the seven of the best competitive papers of the Summit. The exceptional situation of the Summit merits three introductory commentaries: the first by Jagdish Sheth, the Summit keynote speaker as well as one by David Ballantyne on behalf of the ICRM and the other by Wesley Johnston representing the AMA-RM SIG.

On reading the five invited papers by Jaqueline Pels, Kristian Möller and Michael Saren; Evert Gummesson and Francesco Polese; Christian Grönroos; Kaj Storbacka and Suvi Nenonen; and Stephen Vargo, it was gratifying to see that each had chosen to stress the importance of re-thinking old dichotomies. Though each paper has a specific focus the bottom line of the five papers, to my understanding, is an acknowledgment that classifications are useful but we need to beware of (mis)using them and creating conceptual silos.

The special issue opens with the Pels, Möller and Saren paper. Building on the CMP findings (i.e. the coexistence of transactional and relational marketing practices) it problematizes the RM-B2B matrimony, inviting to abandon either/or views and adopt a both/and logic. It does so by reviewing contribution of the diverse B2B research traditions and by adopting a configurational approach which accepts equifinality of marketing paractices.

On the other hand, Evert Gummesson and Francesco Polese invite us overcome another dichotomy (B2B and B2C) and to think in terms of complex relational systems which embrace both. This network-based approach suggests a change in roles between suppliers and customers (i.e. exposing the customer’s active role), an integration between a practitioner contribution and academic research, as well as dissolving the conventional divide in goods and services marketing in favor of supplier-customer interactions leading to the co-creation of value.

Though apparently diverse, Christian Grönroos’s paper is also a call for integration. By acknowledging the broad and complex set of interfaces involved in the process of value co-creation, it seeks to re-position marketing from a tactical to a strategic level where integration with other areas and the customer is critical. The paper suggests adopting a promise management-based approach.

Kaj Storbacka and Suvi Nenonen focus on performance and how heterogeneity of customer relationship performance influences the heterogeneity of firm outcome. Taking customer relationships as the unit of analysis a model describing dyadic value co-creation is proposed with the aim of helping firms achieve an optimum mix of customer relationships.

Stephen Vargo’s work closes the section of invited submission and sits comfortably with the previous papers. It highlights the importance of transcending a narrow dyadic perspective of relationships and the need to “evolve” into a broader network view of value co-creation. The S-D logic recognises the service and B2B literature contribution and suggests that its core contribution is bringing into focus the purpose and activities that motivate relationships and provides the glue that creates network structure: the “service provision”.

The second set of papers by Tony Garry and Tracy Harwood; Aurelia Lefaix-Durand, Robert Kozak, Robert Beauregard and Diane Poulin; Olga Tretyak and Nikita Popov; Per Engelseth; Brian Low and Wesley Johnston; Tomokazu Kubo and Akinori Ono; and Áurea Helena Puga Ribeiro, Thomas G. Brashear, Plinio Rafael Reis Monteiro and Luciana Faluba Damázio also share a communality: their broad international spectrum.

Tony Garry and Tracy Harwood study the UK corporate legal services market suggesting that the level of client sophistication has a moderating influence on: service evaluation criteria; interdependency and power; the atmosphere in which solicitor-client interactions take place and relationships develop; the nature of joint personal relational goals and the role of trust and extent of commitment.

Aurelia Lefaix-Durand, Robert Kozak, Robert Beauregard and Diane Poulin explore ways to develop value-driven relationship management. They look at the Canadian wood product industry and propose an adaptation and extension of current measurements of relationships value by considerations of scope (i.e. integrating suppliers’ views); computational techniques (i.e. calculations of the overall values of relationships); range of applications (i.e. types of relationships evaluated); and scale of measurement (i.e. number of relationships evaluated).

Olga Tretyak and Nikita Popov compare networks of excellence in Russia and in the European Union of non-profit organizations (i.e. academia). They conclude that B2B network concepts need to be modified before extending them to non-profit organizations.

Per Engelseth studies the Norwegian strawberry network. It adopts a resource-based approach to create a framework that allows analyzing food product traceability systems, integrating aspects of information connectivity and supply chain management issues (e.g. logistics).

Brian Low and Wesley Johnston explore the wireless, telecommunication, information technology, and broadcasting industry suggesting a model that allows analysing possible positioning path to shift firm’s network position in uncertain complex landscape.

Akinori Ono and Tomokazu Kubo analyse the Japanese and USA automobile industry from a game theory perspective. Their scope is to develop a causal model regarding the relationship among asset specificity, opportunism, long-term orientation and intention to extend the relationship, which explains why manufacturers do not hold up distributors with their specified assets.

Áurea Helena Puga Ribeiro, Thomas G. Brashear, Plinio Rafael Reis Monteiro and Luciana Faluba Damázio examine value strategies among international and national firms in Brazil. It concludes that firms in Brazil continue to use transactional commodity strategies as their primary relational form.

I would like to close by thanking once more the entire academic program team for the generous contribution of their time and suggestions which made this Summit a reality, attracted worldwide leading scholars, and generated the high quality papers presented in this special issue. All papers in this special issue underwent a blind review, thus last but not least I would like to thank Nutnicha Lerdsahapun from the JBIM editorial team for her help and the following reviewers for their constructive insights:

  • Cristian Chelariu, York University, Canada

  • Bernard Cova, Euromed Marseille-École de Management, France

  • Paul Dion, Susquehanna University, USA

  • Michael Ehret, Nottingham Trent University, UK

  • Mark Glynn, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

  • Evert Gummesson, Stockholm University School of Business, Sweden

  • Aino Halinen-Kaila, Turku School of Economics and Business Administration, Finland

  • Martin Hingley, Harper Adams University College, UK

  • Maria Holmlund-Rytokonen, Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Finland

  • Jens Hultman, Jönköping International Business School,Sweden

  • Jean L. Johnson, Washington State University, USA

  • Douglas M. Lambert, The Ohio State University, USA

  • Mark P. Leach, Loyola Marymount University

  • Robert F. Lusch, Univeristy of Arizona, USA

  • Paul Matthyssens, University of Antwerp, Belgium

  • Chris Medlin, University of Adelaide, Australia

  • James Narus, Wake Forest University, USA

  • Ben A. Oumlil, University of Dayton, USA

  • Vanessa Ratten, Duquesne University, USA

  • Thomas Ritter, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

  • Michael Saren, University of Leicester, UK

  • Charles H. Schwepker Jr, University of Central Missouri, USA

  • Ramendra Singh, Indian Institute of Management, India

  • Kaj Storbacka, Hanken School of Economics, Finland

  • Heidi Winklhofer, University of Nottingham, UK

March 2009

Jaqueline PelsChair, Relationship Marketing Summit

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